many Opportunities to observe The wonderful world of wings

Birdwatching is one of the fastest-growing hobbies in North America. It’s convenient, challenging, relaxing and free!

Please enjoy perusing the resources below, including information about hand-feeding the birds at The West Woods each fall and winter.

Bird in the Hand Feeding Station

Have you ever hand-fed wild birds? From October through April, head to The West Woods to give it a try – in optimal conditions, volunteers have reported as many as 60 chickadees in 20 minutes!

  1. Watch our Facebook or Twitter accounts each fall for the announcement that Bird in the Hand is back for the season.
  2. Time your visit for daylight hours and dress warmly – extra layers, hat and gloves – since you will be standing still. Between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., stop into the nature center to collect some black oil sunflower seed; otherwise, use a little from the feeder already placed on site. Hand-feeding works best with just one or two people or a small group, like three or four. What are optimal weather conditions? Click here for an Ask a Naturalist Q&A to find out!
  3. Follow the Trout Lily Trail, then hang a right at the fork after the boardwalk across the wetlands, following the sign. Soon you’ll come upon the feeding station marked by a feeder and a mannequin, “Parker,” who keeps the birds familiar with a human presence. (Parker is pretty realistic; then again, birds are fairly easy to fool.)
  4. Take down the feeder, hide it under the nearby bucket, extend your hand with some seed in your palm, then wait. Birds come in waves, so you may need to wait a little while for the next wave to come. But odds are you’ll have at least a few takers if you’re patient, enjoying the peace and quiet a handful of minutes or so. Enjoy!

While you're out and about Check out these programs

Event Location Date Time Fee
Music of the Night Bike Ride Headwaters Park 06/21/2019 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Free
Junior Naturalist Day Camp (Youth entering grades 5-7) The West Woods 06/24/2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm $150.00
Bird House Bus Tour: Bluebirds, Martins & More Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve 06/29/2019 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Free
View All Upcoming Events

What's going on in there? Bird Box Webcams

Ever wished you could see all the activity inside your local bird boxes? Good news: boxes outside Big Creek Park’s Donald W. Meyer Center and The West Woods Nature Center are outfitted with live webcams so you can do just that!

Big Creek Park Live Webcam

The West Woods Live Webcam

When the boxes are active, you can click here for the latest updates from naturalists Tami Gingrich, who reports on the Big Creek Park feed, and Linda Gilbert, who reports on The West Woods feed.

If a feed doesn’t work, please visit the nest again soon; that just means too many people are looking at the birds!