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Pandemic prompts increased interest in birdwatching 

Pandemic prompts increased interest in birdwatching 

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Since the pandemic started, the Audubon Society and others have noticed increased interest in observing wildlife, including birdwatching.

Sales at The Fat Robin Wild Bird and Nature Shop in Hamden have been up since May.

“I think more people working from home and also being home more in general has led to more sales of bird feeding setups and bird houses to enjoy in their yards,” said Ryan Zipp, a partner at The Fat Robin. “... I think many won’t be traveling as much this summer as well so they are putting money into making their yards nice to enjoy.

“We have noticed some new birdwatchers calling us up to ask questions and also look into purchasing their first set of binoculars,” Zipp added. 

The Fat Robin, 3000 Whitney Ave., has only been open for curbside pickup since the third week in March. Zipp and other staff are working to open the inside of the store to customers.  

Members of the Quinnipiac Valley Audubon Society have also noticed more people birdwatching. 

“I’ve had people send me an email, a picture or a text message over the last month or two being like ‘what’s this bird? Is it common? I’ve never seen it before,’” said Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, an Audubon Society board member. “Certainly, there’s been a lot of interest in birds in particular. People are noticing birds more so than they ever have before.”

Folsom-O’Keefe recommended the Riverbound Farm in Cheshire for nature watching. The preserve is located at 1881 Cheshire St.  

“It’s a pretty short trail, just about a mile, so for somebody who has not gone outdoors but is looking for a chance to experience some nature, it is a really nice walk,” Folsom-O’Keefe said. “It’s a really pretty stretch of the (Quinnipiac) river and there’s a little bit of meadow so you can see lots of dragonflies and butterflies.”

The Connecticut Audubon Society is offering its “Not So Bummer Summer” camp online. The camp offers live interactive, nature-themed activities for ages of 6 to 10 through Aug. 21. The camp runs Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon. 

“The way our camps have run in the past, each center has run their own traditional summer camp,” said Kate Reamer, the director of the Audobon center in Glastonbury. “The way we are going to do it this summer, all the centers across the state are working together to run this one program together … It’s a really great collaborative effort.”

The program will take place on Zoom. To avoid technical difficulties, parents are required to participate for the first 15 minutes on Monday each week. 

“I think that it will keep kids thinking, questioning, using their minds,” said Sarah Heminway, the director of the center at Pomfret. “We also want to keep them active. We don’t want them sitting right in front of the screen the whole time. We really want to get kids outside and exploring and exercising. In one sense we want to cultivate and nurture a love of nature, but at the same time, it’s really about good, healthy habits and mental health.”

jsimms@record-journal.com203-317-2208Twitter: @jessica_simms99

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Take a look around The Fat Robin birding store in Hamden. | Dave Zajac, Record-Journal
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