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St. Kate's Library Bird-Off: Home

This guide is for a spring and summer event where students, faculty, and staff can learn about the birds around through friendly competition!

Banner with birds, trees, and a sign that says St. Kate's Library Bird-Off

Sparrow flying in to the heading that says "What is the St. Kate's Library Bird-off?"

The St. Kate's Library Bird-Off is a friendly competition involving bird watching. Members of the St. Kate's community can compete by downloading an app called iNaturalist and uploading photos or song recordings of birds to our group on the app. The individual with the most observations by June 20th will win a regional field guide for bird watching! You don't have to know anything about bird identification to participate, the app will help you identify them. 

To get started, click the Directions tab above and follow the directions.
We hope you'll be birding with us soon!

Banner that says "watching at a feeder" with a sandhill crane near the words

If you have a bird feeder or plan on getting one this year it's important to keep it clean! Moldy seeds and bird droppings can make birds sick and spread disease. Therefore, you should clean your bird feeder every 2 weeks. To clean your birdfeeder, disassemble it and use soap and boiling water. You should also be cleaning the ground around your feeder by removing any uneaten seeds and hull build-up. 

Hummingbird feeders require a bit more work. Sugar water should be changed every 3 - 5 days and feeders should be cleaned once a week or more if the weather is hot. DO NOT use soap when cleaning a hummingbird feeder. Simply use hot water and a bottle brush to scrub them down.

Banner that says "bird etiquette" with a blue jay and sparrow

  1. Stay at a distance to avoid disrupting and agitating birds, especially when near nests.
  2. Do not make noises or use recordings to get a bird's attention. It's best to stay quiet to avoid scaring them away. 
  3. When seeking out birds, minimize habitat disturbance by staying on trails, respecting private property, and keeping a distance.
  4. If you're birding with friends, educate them on birding etiquette.
  5. Have fun and be respectful of those around you, especially the birds! 

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Banner that says "Prize:" with humming birds

Book cover of Stan Tekiela's Birding for Beginners Midwest which has a red bellied wood-pecker on the cover eating from a tube feeder

Stan Tekiela is a naturalist and wildlife photographer who has written several best-selling field guides. This field guide is perfect for a beginner birder and focuses on the most common birds in the Midwest, making it extremely easy to navigate. The book organizes birds by color, so if you see a yellow bird, you go to the yellow section. There are also some additional tips about bird seed and feeding for the backyard birder. 

*If you live in a different region, we are happy to substitute this field guide for one specific to your region. 

Banner that says "what is citizen science" with birds on it

iNaturalist is an app that utilizes citizen science. The data we enter for our observations such as time, date, location, and species are uploaded to data repositories that scientists can use for studies regarding things like biodiversity or phenology. Therefore, we're not just watching birds, we're assisting with scientific research as well!

Banner that says "birding books" with a sparrow

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