Ornithology anyone? New birdwatching club welcomes birds to campus with new feeders

Jeff Christoff

The Lawrence University Birdwatching Club has recently installed birdfeeders around campus. They hope the feeders will contribute to the aesthetics of the campus and attract a greater diversity of wildlife.Club president Wes Miksa has been surprised at how well the feeders have been working. “The birdfeeders have attracted quite a few different types of birds,” he said.

Platform feeders have been placed outside Colman, Ormsby, and Downer. These contain a mixed variety of seeds that attract different types of birds. A hummingbird feeder is located between Colman and Brokaw, and a finch feeder is set up near Main Hall. Informative stations, which will include field guides and other facts, will accompany the feeders and will be placed in nearby lounges.

“A lot of people have already shown an interest in birds they‘ve seen and ask questions of members of the club,” Miksa said.

The feeders, while durable, are not permanently anchored into the ground. The club will relocate them during winter months, and more may be purchased depending on how well the current ones work.

Miksa described the club as academic and informative, and said that a main goal of the group can be emphasized with the quote, “We grieve only for what we know,” taken from the Aldo Leopold book A Sand County Almanac.

“For many people, ‘nature’ and ‘wilderness’ are distant, abstract concepts,” Miksa said. “We try to create an atmosphere where people from a variety of backgrounds can share their interests constructively with others in a wilderness setting.”

Another aspect of the club involves weekend trips off campus. Over reading period, they are traveling to Wyalusing State Park, located in Southwestern Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. The following weekend, they will visit Big Eau Pleine Park.

“We try to make trips short enough so they’re not a burden, but long enough so that they allow for enough time to get a lot out of them,” Miksa said.

The advisors of the club are Brian Peer, a professional ornithologist, and Tom and Carol Sykes, who have been active in the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology for many years.