The birdwatching club spreads its wings

Above+is+an+artistic+rendering+of+what+a+birdwatcher+might+see.+The+birdwatchers+rose+early+in+the+morning+to+get+to+the+Old+Cedar+Bridge.+From+there+they+trekked+into+the+forest%2C+bird+manual+and+binoculars+in+hand%2C+to+the+river%2C+where+they+birdwatched+for+about+an+hour.+%E2%80%9CIt%27s+really+peaceful%2C+and+it%27s+just+interesting%2C+because+we+are+just+watching+these+visitors%2C%E2%80%9D+says+founding+birdwatcher+junior+Elliot+Pham.+%0A
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The birdwatching club spreads its wings

Above is an artistic rendering of what a birdwatcher might see. The birdwatchers rose early in the morning to get to the Old Cedar Bridge. From there they trekked into the forest, bird manual and binoculars in hand, to the river, where they birdwatched for about an hour. “It's really peaceful, and it's just interesting, because we are just watching these visitors,” says founding birdwatcher junior Elliot Pham.

Above is an artistic rendering of what a birdwatcher might see. The birdwatchers rose early in the morning to get to the Old Cedar Bridge. From there they trekked into the forest, bird manual and binoculars in hand, to the river, where they birdwatched for about an hour. “It's really peaceful, and it's just interesting, because we are just watching these visitors,” says founding birdwatcher junior Elliot Pham.

Elliott Askari-Rabe

Above is an artistic rendering of what a birdwatcher might see. The birdwatchers rose early in the morning to get to the Old Cedar Bridge. From there they trekked into the forest, bird manual and binoculars in hand, to the river, where they birdwatched for about an hour. “It's really peaceful, and it's just interesting, because we are just watching these visitors,” says founding birdwatcher junior Elliot Pham.

Elliott Askari-Rabe

Elliott Askari-Rabe

Above is an artistic rendering of what a birdwatcher might see. The birdwatchers rose early in the morning to get to the Old Cedar Bridge. From there they trekked into the forest, bird manual and binoculars in hand, to the river, where they birdwatched for about an hour. “It's really peaceful, and it's just interesting, because we are just watching these visitors,” says founding birdwatcher junior Elliot Pham.

Elliott Askari-Rabe, Staff Writer

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Birds are truly a sight to behold. They are, literally, avian dinosaurs, so it’s no wonder that students at South have founded a new bird watching club. They had their first meeting on the 27th of March, and hope to make a regular habit of meeting and observing birds.

The bird watchers rose early in the morning to get to the Old Cedar Bridge. From there they trekked into the forest, bird manual and binoculars in hand, to the river, where they watched birds for about an hour. They saw many avians, including hawks, blackbirds, geese, and a swan. “It’s really peaceful, and it’s just interesting, because we are just watching these visitors,” says founding birdwatcher junior Elliot Pham.

“I like being in the outdoors,” says junior Nelson Munene. “It’s nice to just look at the birds while you’re relaxing and enjoying the scenery.”

Pham took inspiration from his middle school teacher who used to have students go birdwatching. “I always really liked nature, and I love me some birds. Migration is cool, so I was just bored one day, so I was like ‘what if I made a club where we just go out and watch some birds.’”

And that’s exactly what he did. “At the moment, [its] just my buddies,” says Pham. “[But] we’re hoping to get more people on board.”

Right now, the birdwatchers meet at the Bloomington National Wildlife Refuge. According to Pham, the junction between the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers makes for the perfect area to admire nature, and important for migratory birds. The refuge contains 14,000 acres to explore along the wilderness of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers and connects to other protected areas, including Minnehaha park. The park should keep them busy for a while Pham says, but the group and its other members hope to eventually explore other areas as well.

For the time being though, Pham thinks the refuge will do just fine.

“Every summer I go to the Boundary Waters,” said junior Guthrie Paulson. “It’s something that is within my interests, but it’s nothing that I’ve ever actually gone out and done. We saw some cool stuff.”

The birdwatchers do have some hurdles to overcome in terms of attracting new people. The members admit that 6:30 am isn’t the easiest time to go to an extracurricular, and the Bloomington refuge is itself a far drive for many potential members, but so far the club has been able to draw in people who are only vaguely bird-brained.

Of course, you can’t talk about birdwatching without some mention of the birds. Pham contends that ravens and crows are of a superior class of bird, crediting to their high intelligence. However, he would like to one day spot a Cassowary, dubbed the most dangerous bird in the world.

The others seem to disagree as to what bird takes the crown. Paulson, admiring the loon and commenting on its secretive lifestyle, says, “they’re so mysterious. You don’t know what they’re doing all day.”

“The best bird is the peregrine falcon,” Munene contends. “It can dive at speeds up to 300 miles per hour.”

The birdwatchers hope that the club will start doing other activities, such as bird calling, and maybe start meeting more often. But overall, Pham simply hopes that people will appreciate the outdoors. “I’d like to just have everyone enjoy admiring nature and all the cool stuff around us.”

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