Rural Intelligence Outdoors: Birds and the Big Chill
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Ice harvesting with Dennis Picard
It's time for the Great Backyard Bird Count (just not in your backyard)
Launched in 1998 by Cornell and the National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) now includes more than 160,000 people around the world in more than 100 countries. The result has been the tracking of more than 6,400 species of birds. Leader Heidi Block will provide tips on what the requirements are for becoming an “official” counter and how to register your observations. Biologist and bird expert Will Yandik will be there to help with the identification process.
“It’s cool to think that our efforts will become part of data being collected globally,” Block says. “Scientists can track long-term patterns, changes in migrations and how the climate is affecting us all.” Bring binoculars and bird guides if you have them, dress in layers and come prepared to appreciate the warbling sounds you usually take for granted. Snacks will be supplied. (For the humans, that is. The birds have feeders.)
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Saturday, Feb. 16, 8-10 a.m.
Ooms Conservation Area
480 Rock City Rd., Chatham, NY
Free, but advance registration requested.
Have a winter blast at The Big Chill
While the Shakers would have been industrious every minute of every day no matter what the season, these days Hancock Shaker Village is closed for the winter. Except for one day — this Sunday, Feb. 17. The open house, appropriately called “The Big Chill,” is an opportunity to see just how the former inhabitants of this village would have been spending their time.
“There is nothing more enjoyable than winter at Hancock,” said Communications Manager Meribeth Cellana. “It takes you back in time.” Blacksmiths and woodworkers are on site to demonstrate their skills. Farmers will be giving talks about preparing the barn for the arrival of newborn heritage livestock and what needs to be done with their heirloom seeds (and seedlings) in anticipation of spring cultivation. Guest speaker and demonstrator Dennis Picard will talk about ice harvesting in the icehouse (a structure often overlooked in July) and eager visitors can have a go at using ice cutting tools. There’ll be tree tapping, too, with the added bonus of maple snow tasting. Dress for the weather. Suitable for adults and children.
The Big Chill
Sunday, Feb. 17, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Hancock Shaker Village
1843 W. Housatonic St., Pittsfield, MA
Kids 12 and younger free; youth (13-17 years) $8; adults $20
No advance registration required.
More to do in the great outdoors
Feb. 16: Couples Scavenger Hunt at Notchview, Windsor, MA
Feb. 16: Snow or No! Snowshoe or Hike at Taconic State Park, Copake Falls, NY
Feb. 17: Valentine's Alpaca Buddy at Lilymoore Alpaca Farm, Pleasant Valley, NY
Feb. 17: Inhabiting the Landscape at Clark Art, Williamstown, MA
Feb. 17: Llama Walk at White Memorial Conservation Center, Litchfield, CT
Feb. 22: Lantern Tour of Litchfield's History, Litchfield, CT
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