FAIRFIELD BIRDER ENGAGES YOUTHS IN BIRDING!
With chirps and tweets and caws, a Fairfield author and ornithologist Monday morning slowly won over a group of kids with the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.
Armed with a laptop, photos and 37 years of knowledge, John C. Robinson shared his love of birds with several groups of club kids who gamely questioned the birder to near-exhaustion.
Jadelynn Velasze, 8, shared her love of hawks and asked Robinson everything from how you feed them (small animals, not tomatoes) to their love of flying.
Jacob Stuart, 8, essentially admitted his love of nature, and asked about the kinds of birds one might find in different locations.
For his part, Robinson, who has authored more than a dozen books, excitedly relayed facts and figures and kept the kids in each session interested.
The birder has always been a nature lover but didn’t become a bird enthusiast until college, when he was inspired by his professor’s teachings. He found he could find birds and memorize their calls very quickly, he said, and was teaching the class the following year.
The Pittsburgh, Penn. native later signed on with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and traveled the nation in search of different birds. He also shared his knowledge through books and lectures and tours.
“I’ve been teaching people since 1979,” he said.
He subsequently retired from the Forest Service’s Mare Island branch and now has his own business.
He encourages more people of all ages to get out and bird. It’s fun and educational and gets you into nature, he explained.
“It’s a whole other world,” he continued. “Once you get started you don’t want to stop. I just want everyone to enjoy the experience.”
Robinson began engaging the kids by talking about nature. Then, he got into bird facts and, finally, calls.
His nine facts about the uniqueness of birds:
• They can fly, though not all do.
• Birds have a backbone.
• They’re warm-blooded.
• They have a four-chambered heart.
• All birds have feathers.
• All also have hollow bones.
• Birds have air sacs throughout their bodies.
• They don’t have teeth — just a gizzard that “chews” their food.
• All birds lay eggs.
All these facts, he continued, relate to their adaptation of flight.
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