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Birdwatching can make for a relaxing hobby
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Photographer and bird watcher Bruce Atnip captured this image of a bird surrounded by vibrant red berries.
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Bruce Atnip adjusts his scope to capture a photo of a nearby bird. The inaugural meeting for a Bird Watchers Club has been set for Oct. 23. - photo by Lacy Garrison
Have you ever thought to yourself, “What bird is that?”

After all, birds can be found just about anywhere – outside your window at home, on your hike, or even on your way to work.

If you are interested in learning more, a Bird Watchers Club is forming in Warren County. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced birder, club organizer Bobbye Woodward says this fee-free club is for you.

“To be in this club, it’s best if you have a good set of binoculars, a scope, and a camera with a zoom lens,” explained Woodward. “I always recommend ‘Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America’ by Roger Tory Peterson.”

Added photographer Bruce Atnip, “We really just want to get people who enjoy spotting birds to come together. We’ll even go on outings to see rare birds blown in by hurricanes and we’ll share our information and photos at monthly meetings.”

Atnip has captured many sharp bird images over the years. Every year he tries to capture a crisp photo to include on a Christmas card to hand out to the public. He said you can usually find birds near water, but sometimes you have to wait for the perfect shot.

So how does one become a “birder”? For Woodward, her uncle, who lived on a farm in Arkansas, encouraged her hobby. As a young child, Woodward began learning proper bird identification and terminology with his help.

“He really sparked my interest and appreciation of birds and I’ve been fascinated ever since,” said Woodward with a smile. “I learned to say Northern Cardinal, Eastern Blue Jay, Painted Bunting. Instead of saying that yellow bird over there, I learned to say American Goldfinch, for example, and how to correctly identify birds by more than just their color.”

Why should you consider taking up bird watching as a hobby? According to Bill Thompson, in an article published by “Bird Watcher’s Digest,” there are several reasons to become a bird watcher:

• It’s a connection with nature.
• Birds get us outside.
• It’s a “flexible” pastime.
• It’s economical.

• Birds can be enjoyed year-round.

The inaugural meeting for the Bird Watchers Club is Oct. 23 at Topz at 7 p.m. The regular monthly meeting will be same time and place the fourth Tuesday of every month. For more information, call Bobbye Woodard at 474-8985.