Locals get a birds-eye view of nature

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By Tamara Tellis/Staff Writer

The Gadsden Public Library found an interesting activity for its summer reading program members⎯bird watching. 

“We were just thinking off the top of our heads what type of programs we could do and somebody said ‘birds,’” said Adult Services Librarian Craig Scott. “So we said let’s find out who the expert is in this. We thought Birding would be kind of cool for summer reading and a different program that we haven’t seen before.”

GPL’s Adult Summer Reading Program members experienced a part of the Appalachian Highland Birding Trail on June 26, which is a trail that covers nine counties within Alabama. Bird expert Anne Miller, from Birmingham, educated the group on the new birding trail in Etowah County. 

“When I say trail, it almost sounds like a path⎯it’s not,” said Scott. “It is a trail where the state of Alabama and their tourism department, in conjunction with the wildlife department, had gotten together and said ‘in these nine counties there is cool stuff to see regarding birds.’”

The group examined the James Martin Bird Sanctuary located behind the Gadsden Mall.

“We walked out and there is a little point that you could look at on an island, pretty close to [interstate] 759 and there is what you call a ‘Heron Rookery’ and that’s where herons are nesting,” said Scott. “They counted 94 [herons] on the little island. I have seen herons before but I didn’t realize that this is where one of their big nesting spots is. 

“I thought herons are so big that their nest would be in the ground, but they are way up in the trees. So if you look at that island its covered in white with all the herons that are out there.”

Before heading out to the sanctuary, Bird expert Anne Miller gave the group of 31 members a presentation about the Appalachian Highland Birding Trail, specifically, the James Martin Bird Sanctuary. 

“I am not a bird expert by any means but I have gotten interested in birds,” said Scott.

Bird watching is only one of the interesting activities that the adult summer reading program has to offer.

“The national theme this year is kind of cute. It is called ‘Between the Covers,’ said Scott. “So our summer reading program includes a lot of different programs, usually on Tuesday. Our group has made quilted bookmarks, we did papermaking, our opening for the program, in early June, was with Dairy Queen so we had Dairy Queen goodies.” 
 GPL’s Adult Summer Reading Program will continue through July 31 and will include activities such as a “Southern Cook-off ” and “Detective Day with Chief Crane.” 

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