This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Local Birdwatchers Hold Annual Count on Campus

Members of the local Hudson Valley community often visit Vassar to participate in events, enjoy the natural beauty of the arboretum, or interact with campus residents. But who knew those residents aren’t always human? The Waterman Bird Club, consisting of 400 bird enthusiasts from the area, visited the college on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for their annual bird count. Ralph T. Waterman founded the Waterman Bird Club in 1958. They meet once a week and every other weekend, often traveling to locations across the country in search of interesting birds. They spent their morning at Vassar hiking the woods and trails around the south end of campus, tracking bird movements and changes in bird species populations. Many species of birds thrive around the ponds, creeks, weeds, and shrubs; for a small area, the campus is home to a wide range of diverse habitats. Club members know what to listen for: they heard everything from blue jays and chickadees to swans and yellow-bellied sapsuckers, and even spotted a great blue heron in flight during this year’s visit. Strolling between buildings in the center of campus, one often sees the infamous Vassar squirrels busily preparing for winter, and even the occasional groundhog — but a pair of binoculars and a walk in the woods reveals a whole new world of wildlife right in our own backyard.

January 2009

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