Learn the wonders of birding at your local library

  • Thursday, July 10, 2014

When I was in high school I dated a fellow who was a bird-watcher. In fact, his whole family were avid bird-watchers.

It was a mystery to me why they would be interested in spending hours looking at birds. What pleasure did they get from this activity?

Now I understand. I don’t remember exactly when I became interested in bird-watching, but over the years I’ve come to enjoy it more and more.

According to a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 50 million people are involved in this very popular hobby.

Billions of dollars are pumped into the economy each year by birders – buying bird seed, birdhouses, paraphernalia and traveling.

Bird-watching is a very versatile pastime.

It can be done from most anywhere, including indoors looking out a window, in backyards, in parks or nature preserves.

It can be a solitary activity, or you can join a group or guided tour.

I tend to do most of my bird-watching in my backyard where I have several feeders and bird baths.

I have been to some of the state and county parks which are popular areas for bird-watching, plus to our wonderful South Carolina coasts and marshes, which are prime bird-watching sites.

For two years, I have participated in Cornell University’s Project FeederWatch in which participants count birds for science.

Data are entered on their website, which is www.feederwatch.org. Counting is done two consecutive days per week from November to April.

There are many benefits to bird-watching.

It’s a relaxing and quiet activity suitable for any age. Bird-watching provides a time to observe nature.

It can be an opportunity to be outdoors in the fresh air and to go hiking or walking. Children benefit from observing birds and nature by learning to be still and quiet.

It’s a way to get away from our hectic, technical lifestyles.

The public library is a great place to begin learning about bird-watching.

“The Sibley Guide to Birds” by David Allen Sibley is beautifully illustrated to help you learn how to identify birds.

Try building a birdhouse using “Audubon Birdhouse Book” by Margaret Barker and Elissa Wolfson.

One of my favorite books is “1,001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know” by Sharon “Birdchick” Stiteler (where I found a great bird-food recipe for attracting bluebirds).

For children, the picture book “The Blues Go Birding Across America” by Carol L. Malnor would be a great way to introduce young children to bird-watching.

Steve Martin and Jack Black star in the delightful movie, “The Big Year,” which is about a race to count the most birds in one year.

Find “Audubon Magazine” and “BirdWatching Magazine” on Zinio, the library’s free downloadable magazine service.

Come to the library to check out many other resources about bird-watching.

Happy birding.


Summer Reading Family Storytime: Safety (ages 2-6)

Thursday, July 10 at 11:30 a.m.

Enjoy stories and activities about safety, and enjoy a special visit from the Mount Pleasant Police Department.

Safety Tips Kids Need to Know (grades K-5)

Thursday, July 10 at 4 p.m.*

Meet Officer Les and Officer Bill, and become a Mount Pleasant Reading Patrol Junior Officer as you listen to great books about keeping yourself safe.

* Tickets will be given out 30 minutes before program

Second Saturday Writing Critique Group (ages 16 and older)

Saturday, July 12 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Open to all writers. For more information, call the Reference Desk at 843-849-6161 or email MtpReference@ccpl.org.

Monday Book Discussion (adults)

Monday, July 14 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

“The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty

Monday Matinée

Monday, July 14 at 2:30 p.m.

“Bridge to Terabithia” (2007). Rated PG; 95 minutes.

The Big Bang Theory Marathon (ages 13 and older)

Tuesday, July 15 from 2-5 p.m.

Watch nine episodes from the third season of “The Big Bang Theory.”

Wii Wednesday

Wednesday, July 16 from 2-3:30 p.m.

Blast into fun with library Wii games.

Sciencetellers: Dragons and Dreams (grades K-5)

Thursday, July 17 at 4 p.m.*

Learn about the science of fire and ice through stories and experiments.

* Tickets will be given out 30 minutes before program

STAR Therapy Dogs

Saturday, July 19 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Practice reading with a canine friend.

Saturday Matinée

Saturday, July 19 at 2:30 p.m.

“The Princess Diaries” (2001). Rated G; 114 minutes.

Monday Matinée

Monday, July 21 at 2:30 p.m.

“Planes” (2013). Rated PG; 92 minutes.


Babygarten (ages 0-18 months with a caregiver) includes circle reading and rhyme time, songs and playtime.

Wednesdays, July 9, 16, 23 and 30 at 10 a.m.

Baby Bumblebees Storytime (ages 6-24 months with a caregiver) is designed for babies and toddlers to enjoy books, rhymes, movement, songs and playtime.

Thursdays, July 10, 17, 24 and 31 at 10 a.m.

Family Storytime (ages 2-6 years; all ages welcome) includes stories, songs and rhymes for families.

Thursdays, July 10, 17, 24 and 31 at 11:30 a.m.

Susan McSwain works in the reference department at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library and writes the blog “MTP Matters,” at the website www.mtplibrary.blogspot.com.

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