WENATCHEE — Six-year-old Ronan Cole’s favorite bird is the peregrine falcon.
“He tucks in his wings and then he dives super fast to catch his prey,” he said.
Ronan didn’t see any falcons Saturday during the NCW Audubon Society’s Birding for Kids event, but there were lots of other winged creatures.
About 15 adults and children spotted everything from ducks and geese to coots and seagulls to a crow and a kingfisher at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee. They used binoculars and stopped a couple of times to listen for different birds.
Ronan’s mother, Angie Cole of Cashmere, said she found out about the first-time event through Facebook.
“He is fascinated with animals, so I thought it would be fun for him to come experience this, to see animals outside versus just in books,” she said. “He loves animals, so I like to just encourage his knowledge and his love and passion for it. We haven’t done much with binoculars and birding, so I was excited for this event.”
Event leader Joe Veverka said he hopes to offer more birding activities for children. The group didn’t count birds or look for any specific species Saturday.
“Just seeing what we find,” Veverka said. “For the kids it’s usually the bigger birds. They’re as excited about a Canada goose as they are about anything else, but that’s kind of the fun of it. Once you’ve been birding for a long time, you try to seek out the more unusual and rare species, but it’s a good reminder of the objectiveness that kids have.”
He said he did see a small flock of snow geese in the park before the event, which is not a common sight.
Veverka’s wife, Kim, and their 5-year-old daughter, Abby, also participated in the event. Kim Veverka is a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“If it’s a way to get them outside and potentially develop an interest in outdoor recreation or birding, then it’s a bonus,” she said.
Devin Comstock, an assistant district wildlife biologist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, also participated with her family.
“Something other than watching TV on a Saturday morning, getting them out with other kids,” she said. “A lot of times for the younger ones, seeing their peers do it motivates them better than their parents.”
Wenatchee resident Liz Davidson took her daughter Lucy, 1, and sons Cooper, 4, and Ben, 6.
“They’re really curious about the outdoors, so I wanted to give them a chance to be exposed to a new aspect of it that I don’t know well and can’t teach them and just kind of pique their curiosity to learn more,” she said. “I hope they are excited about looking at nature more closely. I hope they learn a bird or two, and I hope they have some fun.”
Cooper and Ben both said they like mallards, but Ben said his favorite bird is the cardinal.
One thing Ben learned from the event?
“People can’t fly because they don’t have wings.”