Slow birding with the 'Bird Diva'

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GRAFTON — For many avian enthusiasts, birding is an adventure in achievement. How many species can we check off of our bird lists? Who has the best "big year" (a year-long competition to count the most birds)? Which pair of binoculars is the most impressive? The most expensive?

Bridget Butler, aka the "Bird Diva," offers a new way to bird: slow birding. Based on the work by authors Donald and Lillian Stokes of the Bird Behavior books and the teachings of John Young and Dan Gardoqui, who wrote "What the Robin Knows," slow birding is an approach that encourages people to slow down and develop a deeper connection to birds, rather than the traditional chase-and-identify birding.

Join The Nature Museum and the Bird Diva for a two-part adventure in slow birding. For Part 1, on Friday, June 8, Butler will lead a Slow Birding Talk at 7 p.m. at the NewsBank Conference Center in Chester. Butler will share how to read bird body language, how to listen beyond just birdsong, and how to discover our own sit-spot to achieve a more intimate look at the natural world.

A Q&A session will follow the presentation. Light refreshments from the Grafton Village Bakery will be served. For more information or to register, visit www.nature-museum.org, or call 802-843-2111. Pre-registration is $7 per person: tickets are $10 at the door.

Want more field experience? Sign up Part 2 of this slow birding adventure: a field session with the Bird Diva on Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 a.m. Walk slowly, look carefully, and listen quietly! Butler will lead a slow birding adventure through the forests and fields of a private property in Grafton. Learn about how to look with and without binoculars, map what you're hearing and seeing, and take field notes which will improve identification and awareness skills.

Participants will learn techniques that they can apply while in the field birding or stepping right outside their door to the birds in their backyard.

Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather and for being still for a period of time, to bring a notebook, water and comfortable, portable chair or pad to sit on.

Both birding events are appropriate for tweens, teens, and adults. The bird walk will end by 10:30 a.m., and the cost is $20 per person. Separate registration is required for the June 8 talk and the June 9 field session.

Butler has been a naturalist for more than 20 years, playing matchmaker for the Vermont wildscape and the people who call this place home. Her mission is to tap into each person's innate passion for nature through exploration and deep listening. Butler is heard on VPR's biannual Bird Show on Vermont Edition. She is the former conservation education specialist at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington. She also appears weekly on WPTZ NewsChannel 5 to discuss natural history and environmental topics.

The Nature Museum creates experiences that engage and enlighten audiences of all ages, and inspire stewardship of our natural world through natural history exhibits, nature programs for adults and children, and the annual Fairy House Festival.

For more information, find The Nature Museum at facebook.com/naturemuseumatgrafton, or visit www.nature-museum.org.

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