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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

January 1, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Feeding our feathered friends

sewardpark123009m.jpg
Dec. 30, 1:16 p.m. [Click sketch to view larger]
sewardparkoutside123009m.jpgThe bird feeder we got for Christmas has been a hit. House finches and chickadees love it, and we’ve even had visits from a Northern flicker and a Steller’s Jay. But will the birds keep coming?
This week at Seward Park’s Environmental & Audubon Center, I learned that there’s more to making your backyard bird-friendly than sticking a feeder in it. The squirrel-proofed feeder I sketched at the center is properly set up under a canopy of trees.
Kimberly Bowen, the center’s development director, gave me rule number one of bird-feeder upkeep: “You have to fill it regularly so the birds can rely on it.” Our birds have already gone through a whole bag of seed, but I think that’s an achievable goal.
Bowen also showed me around the historic Seward Park Inn, where the center has been located since 2008. Visitors can learn about the park’s many species of birds featured in the exhibits and displays. It’s a kid-friendly destination with an interactive display and a library with comfy furniture, including chairs shaped like mushrooms.
You can learn more about bird feeders and seeds or take a tour guided by the center’s naturalists during Saturday’s Winter Bird Super Saturday event (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free admission. Guided walks are $2 to $4, free for toddlers 4 and younger. For more information go to sewardpark.audubon.org)
“It’s a fabulous opportunity to experience urban ecology in your backyard,” said Gail Gatton, the center’s director. The 300-acre park, with its 400- to 500-year-old trees, is a unique setting in an urban environment, she explained.
Kids will also enjoy seeing the center’s resident desert tortoise, Lumpy. He was donated buy someone who couldn’t take care of him anymore. Despite being out of his normal habitat, he has adapted well to his new home with the care of the center’s staff. I hope I’ll get to sketch Lumpy soon.
New to the Seattle Sketcher blog?
Read my first post, where I introduced myself, or watch a slideshow of sketches from 2009. You may also follow the sketcher on Twitter and Facebook.

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