Monday, May 12, 2014

Migration Celebration 2014

This year's Migration Celebration is over, and once again the staff and volunteers of Three Rivers Avian Center put on a fine event. Despite the intermittent rain we had a steady crowd all day long and at some times during the day it was standing room only to view the birds or make crafts.

What makes this event so nice is that there is plenty to do inside, so if there's a shower or two people stay busy looking at exhibits, trying the hands-on nature activities like identifying birds or sticking their hands into mystery boxes and guessing what they feel in there, dissecting owl droppings (this absolutely fascinated the kids!) or taking a photography class, getting a removable tattoo, or making crafts and listening to stories with me. And if the rains held off, there were birdwatching hikes and bug hunts. There is something for everyone in the family to do--Little Beaver offers fishing and picnicking too, so what's not to like? Best of all, it's all free.

Before the crowds--all set up and ready.
This year's crafts focused on ways to use plastic water bottles. America seems to be awash in these disposable bottles and when I found a way to make them into bird feeders and planters, I knew I had to give it a try. The craft took some advance preparation; Larry and I cut holes in bottles for the feeders and cut more bottles in half for the planters.

Larry and Dave look a little apprehensive.
I was lucky to have Larry and our friend and TRAC volunteer Dave as my helpers this year because I sure needed them with the crowds who came to our area.

Dave got his first-ever tattoo! Larry did too, but I missed capturing that moment on film.
The kids--and plenty of adults--had a great time decorating and coloring their feeders,

and they even got a baggie of bird seed to put in the feeders when they got home.

One of the activities during the day was to record on a flipchart the birds sighted during the day. This year was down some from last year, but about 25 different birds were listed on the chart, which was pretty good considering the rain.

It's fascinating to see what people of all ages do when they're turned loose with a few directions and a pile of craft materials. I saw planters with beards and mustaches, birdfeeders with eyes, and a planted completely covered with yellow tape and pompoms.

We used stickers to decorate and permanent markers to decorate the bottles. This girl decided to use the markers on the spoons instead! That way these work: Cut about a 1 1/2-inch hole on one side of the bottle and make a slit on the opposite side. Put the wood spoon handle first into the larger hole and push it through the slit. Repeat on the other side of the bottle. We used jute string tied around the neck to make a hanger. When the bottle is filled, the seed comes out onto the spoon just enough at a time for the birds. Or that's the theory, anyway. The photo at left shows two feeders so it's not really clear, but the photo above shows a woman pushing the spoon through her feeder.

I have only one photo of the planters, unfortunately, because I was so swamped with crafters that I didn't have time to take pictures. These were really cute, though--we put colored electrical tape around the top cut edge, then used wiggle-eyes, pompoms and stickers to make a face on the planter. I saw the idea on Facebook and wish I knew who to credit for coming up with it.

I feel so lucky to have been part of this event since it's beginning 13 years ago, and have only had to miss one year. I am already thinking about next year and what crafts we might make, and what stories I might tell. I mean, there are only 363 days before it comes again!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

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