Thursday, December 3, 2015

Geese By Golly

Are you ready to celebrate the arrival of the winter geese at Hagerman NWR?  

Geese at HNWR by Skip Hill
That's what Geese By Golly is all about.  Spend all or part of the day enjoying the birds from 9 am - 4 pm on Saturday, December 12.  Activities are free and suitable for all ages, thanks to Hagerman NWR, Friends of Hagerman and fabulous volunteers!

11 am - 1 pm -  Enjoy the Blackland Prairie Raptors - live bird display, rehabilitated raptors who could not be released into the wild.  Thanks to the Denison Area Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the raptors!

Hands-on Learning Stations will be offered:

10 - 11:30 am

Learn Feather Facts with Dr. Wayne Meyer - for example - did you know that each and every bird feather is attached to a separate muscle?? How much does a pound of feathers weigh?? (Excuse us, could not resist the old joke!). Check out "like water off a duck's back" for yourself. What were the "feather wars"?

David Palmer will fill you in on Bird Beaks:

"Did you ever wonder why there are so many types of bird beaks or bills? The most important function of a bird bill is feeding, and it is shaped according to what a bird eats. The bill is one of the characteristics used to identify birds. You can learn about bird behavior by looking at the bill and thinking about what it eats."  And you can try our simulated bird beaks!

And you can Get Ready for Bluebirds with Mr. Bluebird, Don Lawrence. Bluebirds were once in serious decline due to loss of preferred nesting places, but efforts to provide man-made homes have paid off and Don will show you how to join in the effort.

1:30 - 3 pm

Geese Migration - the centerpiece of the geese celebration - imagine traveling 3,000- 4,000 miles twice each year just to be close to the grocery store!  Friends Education Chair Cindy Steele will share amazing migration  facts and some quick and fun geese crafts.  

PS Do you know why do geese fly in a V? Because it would be too hard to fly in an S! Just kidding. Scientists have determined that the V-shaped formation that geese use when migrating serves important purposes, conserving energy and helping them keep track of one another.

Project Feeder Watch, with the Bluestem Chapter, Texas Master Naturalists 

"Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders ... and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance." 

Learn how to participate in this annual citizen science program and make a bird feeder from recycled materials to take home.

Informal Talks

10:30 am - Winter is the season when we most enjoy watching "our" birds.  Join Larry and Helen Vargus, Master Naturalists, to learn all about Attracting and Feeding Backyard Birds. 

1:30 pm - Christmas Bird Count 101 - Just what is it?  Who can participate?  How do you count 100 or 1000 birds in one minute?  Dr. Wayne Meyer, coordinator for the annual Christmas Bird Count at Hagerman NWR will share the facts on this important citizen science endeavor and how you can join in if you choose.

2:30 pm - Want to take a bird home?  Dr. Michael Keck will show you how to become a "bird collector", at least digitally, in Beginning Bird Photography.  Bird photography is a multi-dimensional effort, a skills challenge and also the means to learning  more about birds, identity, habitat, and behavior.

Geese Tours

We are praying for the lake flooding to subside and roads to dry on this one! Tentatively,

Tram Tours - 9:30, with Dick Malnory and 11 am, 2 pm with Laurie Sheppard 

Van Tours - 10 am, 1 pm and 2:30 pm, with Jack Chiles, Master Naturalist

Your tour guide will help you distinguish Snow from Ross's geese, ID ducks and more.  Limited seating for tours.  No reservations can be made prior to Dec. 12.  Sign up for the tour of choice when you arrive at the Fest, first come first-served.

What else can I do?

Have your photo made with Puddles, the Blue Goose, and our new Monarch!  Free, receive photo by email.  Courtney Anderson, SCA Intern will be our roving photographer for the day.

Nature video at 9 am and 11:30 am

Watch the birds at the Visitor Center feeder and see the geese fly by the big windows  if we are lucky!

Bring a picnic or lunch on a hot dog or pulled pork sandwich, serving from noon - 1 pm, for a small donation, while supplies last.  Enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate all day.

Take a self-guided walk along Harris Creek Trail.  Other trails may/may not be accessible, depending on lake level.

We know the holidays are a busy time!  Take a break from the rush and enjoy winter nature at Hagerman.

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