Series designed to help residents’ familiarity with feathered friends

A dark-eyed junco (right) and two American tree sparrows shelter in a hemlock tree. Winter feeder birds will be discussed in the first session of the Seneca Rocks Audubon Society's Familiar Feathered Friends series.

More than 40 percent of U.S. households provide food for wild birds, according to a report from the Kaytee Avian Foundation.

That interest in wild birds was part of the inspiration behind a series of programs for beginning birders that will start next week at the Oil City and Clarion libraries.

Programs will be held at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Oil City library and at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays at Clarion Free Library. The first program will be this Tuesday, March 1, in Oil City.

Two Seneca Rocks Audubon Society members, Gary Edwards and Ron Montgomery, thought a bird series would be well received and wanted to partner with the libraries to offer a series of programs, according to Deb Freed, a member of the Seneca Rocks leadership team.

Oil City library director Dan Flaherty said he is excited about the upcoming series.

The program will be put on by area birding experts and will focus on birds of this region, according to Flaherty.

“It think that is a great plus,” he said.

He added that the library will also continue to offer space for the open mic night that is held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at the library.

The open mic may be relocated to the upstairs of the library depending on attendance for both events.

Flaherty said the birding program is just another example of how the library can provide space for individuals or groups with ideas or events that can benefit the community.

Clarion Free Library director Dan Parker said the library has been hosting Seneca Rocks’ regular meetings for years.

“They’ve been great library supporters,” Parker said.

Members of the group reached out to the library as the facility was trying to develop more programs for the public, according to Parker.

Parker said the birding series will be held in the Clarion library’s public meeting room which is handicapped accessible and located downstairs.

About the series

The Familiar Feathered Friends series is free and open to the public.

There is no registration needed for the program, Freed said.

“People can just show up. We’ll be ready,” she said.

Each night’s program will include two parts.

Freed said it isn’t mandatory for people to attend both sessions each night.

She said the programs are like a menu and people can pick and choose what they want.

Presenters for the first programs in the series on Tuesday, March 1, at the Oil City library and Thursday, March 3, at the Clarion library include Freed, Pat Conway and Paulette Colantonio.

Flaherty and Parker will also take part in a resource panel for the 7:30 p.m. portion of the program at their respective libraries.

The 6:30 p.m. session will focus on attracting and identifying winter feeder birds.

Freed said the group will be going through a number of birds including some that people will be familiar with.

Other topics included in the discussion will be what kind of feed attracts birds, the kinds of feeders birds like and some natural food sources.

The program will also help people become familiar with birding lingo and provide them with some resources to help identify birds.

The resource panel will cover the topics like what to do about an injured bird, how to minimize window strikes, great bird and nature books for kids, bird guides and websites, free apps and what’s available at the library, according to Freed.

“We have all these great resources,” Freed said.

She added that there will be handouts for attendees on helpful apps, websites and books.

Freed said the beginning sessions will be more of a general overview.

Future programs become a little more targeted toward specific topics and birds, she said.

At the March 8 and 10 sessions, Edwards will talk about migration and Mike Leahy will discuss raptors.

Future topics

Here’s a look at future program topics scheduled in the Familiar Feathered Friends series.

March 8 and 10 – 6:30 p.m., Migration: Who stays, who goes & why?; 7:30 p.m., Raptors: Vultures, hawks and owls

March 22 and 24 – 6:30 p.m., Common bird songs: Who’s that singing?; 7:30 p.m., Our woodpeckers: six local birds

March 29 and 31 – 6:30 p.m., Binoculars: buying & using, take your own or try ours; 7:30 p.m., Summer lawn birds: bluebirds and local favorites.

More information on Seneca Rocks is available online at