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Free Birding Workshops Offered Saturday, October 1

September 27, 2005

In conjunction with the opening of the new North Alabama Birding Trail, two free birding workshops are being offered on Saturday, October 1.

The Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau will present “Birding 101-An Introduction to Birdwatching” at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center Auditorium from 10 a.m. to noon. Anyone interested in birds and nature is invited to participate in the free workshop.

Pam White and Fred Stevenson, members of the Tennessee Valley Audubon Society and hosts of the popular Birding 101 lecture in the area, will present information about birdwatching basics, bird identification, optics, bird feeding and much more. An informal question and answer session will follow their presentation. Participants should bring binoculars and birding field guides. A short bird walk around the visitor’s center will take place if there is interest from attendees. Neutral colored clothing is recommended, and participants may want to bring sunscreen, bottled water and insect repellant.

The Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is known for its impressive concentrations and diversity of waterfowl each winter. The Refuge Visitor’s Center serves as the gateway to the North Alabama Birding Trail and has a variety of interpretive exhibits. A two-story temperature-controlled observation building with spotting scopes for visitors to use is nearby and is an ideal facility for bird watching.

A “Bankhead Birding Photography Workshop” will also be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Warrior Mountain Trading Company located on Highway 33 just south of Moulton at the Highway 36 intersection.

The workshop will be taught by noted photographer and author Charles Seifried. Seifried is the author of three books, the most recent of which is “Alabama’s Canyons, The Bankhead National Forest,” a combination coffee-table book and practical guide to visiting the North Alabama forest. Other books include “Alabama Simply Beautiful,” a collection of landscape photos and “Through the Garden Gate,” about residential gardens of Historic Huntsville.

All photographers, regardless of skill level, are invited to attend the workshop. Afterwards, participants can practice their new skills in the nearby Bankhead National Forest. Attendees should bring camera, binoculars and birding field guides. Neutral colored clothing is recommended, and participants may want to bring insect repellant, sunscreen, and bottled water.

The North Alabama Birding Trail is a series of 50 mostly roadside stops throughout north Alabama selected for their birdwatching characteristics. While all of the sites can be accessed from a vehicle, many also have traditional walking trails associated with them, and a few sites contain extensive areas that are best explored by boat or canoe. Signs for trail sites display an image of a kingfisher, the signature species chosen to represent the trail.

A 32-page North Alabama Birding Trail visitor guide is available that details site locations and descriptions, bird photos, and specific site characteristics related to birdwatching and habitat. Call 866-238-4748 to request the guide or visit www.northalabamabirdingtrail.com to download a copy.

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