Birding on the KSAT: Insights of a First-Timer and a Lifer

A group of people looking toward the sky, some with binoculars, during a birdwalk event on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail in Easton, Pennsylvania

Blog: Why I Treasure the Trail

On a recent May morning, 12 people gathered at 8 a.m. to walk the KSAT with binoculars. Organized by Nurture Nature Center,  two experienced  birders were joined by others craving the fresh air stroll with eyes and ears tuned to the challenge of identifying species.  
Here are the delighted insights by two folks on the walk: First, a “lifer” who always has binoculars at the ready, Mike Butler, a biology professor at Lafayette College, and second, a first-timer who had never used binoculars before and whose eyes were opened to a new world, Annie Hogan Carr, a 10-year-old graduate of March Elementary School.  


“Birding (yes, you can use it as a verb) is a delightful hobby. All it requires is that you go outside and pay attention, noticing the sounds, the sights, the time of day, the time of year—all of it. Sometimes this attention is very directed. At the recent event Bird Walk and Talk along the KSAT, we had several experienced birders (yup, it’s a noun, too!) who were focused on showing the group all the beautiful and amazing bird species that call the KSAT their home, even temporarily. Some were birds you might have heard of, including blue jays, wood ducks, and Baltimore orioles. And some might be new, including chestnut-sided warblers, American redstarts, common yellowthroats, and black-throated blue warblers. But whether someone was marking their first or 50th time seeing some of these species, everyone was grinning at how beautiful these animals are. How can you not smile when seeing a scarlet tanager!?

But birding doesn’t always have to be intentional. As long as you’re outside and paying attention, you might see something amazing. Several weeks ago, I was jogging down the KSAT and noticed a male eastern bluebird fly by; they’re just as brilliantly blue as you’d guess. Within another 200 meters, I saw a great blue heron standing in the Bushkill, one of the tallest birds in North America. Another 200 meters after that, a red-tailed hawk swooped by and perched in a nearby tree. This series of charismatic birds doesn’t present itself every time, of course, but I keep looking while I’m on my runs. Because I’m not sure what I’ll see this time.”

Mike Butler, Easton resident, associate professor of biology, Lafayette College

First Time Using Binoculars!



I learned to love birds from the walk on the arts trail! 
Annie Hogan Carr, 10 years old
Pileated woodpecker painted by Jeff Stauffer of Catasaqua, currently on display at the Young Masters Wall at the 13th Street entrance to KSAT


“When I was at the bird walk, I learned a lot about birds that I didn’t know before.  On the walk, I saw a bunch of amazing birds, such as an oriole, blue jay, woodpecker, scarlet tanager, common yellowthroat, and warblers. I made a life list of birds I have seen. The other day, I rescued a baby bird, and normally, I wouldn’t know what type of bird it was. But thanks to the bird walk, I knew it was a robin. My dad found the bird caught in netting and cut it free. He let the bird go. I found it almost being eaten by a dog later after he told me about it. Since the bird couldn’t fly I had it with me for about an hour until the mom and dad started to fly around looking for him. When the cute little bird (that I named Blue) saw his parents he hopped out of my hands and followed the mom into a yard where the mom gave it food and love. The next day I went back to the bird and he was gone. He most likely learned to fly as when he was in my care he was almost doing it.  I learned to love birds from the walk on the Arts Trail! ” Annie Hogan Carr, 2019 graduate of  March Elementary School