Cape Nature Center offers tips, programs to make spring work for your big birding year

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center continues “Our Big Year” into the spring. Our Big Year is a yearlong event and competition at the nature center, focused on identifying and keeping track of bird species sightings. MDC Naturalist Jordi Brostoski said spring is a season that can cause a birder’s bird list to explode with new sightings due to migration.

“Both people and birds are out and about more with the comfortable weather,” Brostoski said. “Birding is wonderful in all seasons, but springtime is the easiest time to build your birding list.”

She recommends taking binoculars on hikes or when fishing, kayaking or taking part out in any outdoor activity.

“Many birders see several of the birds on their list simply by staying watchful while driving or walking their usual routes,” Brostoski said. “Birding is one of the simplest ways to take part in nature.”

The nature center also has two events in March that continue the theme of Our Big Year:

  • Nature Art: Mixed Media Birds is Saturday, March 4, from 1 to 4 p.m. Ages 16 and up are invited to make bird sculptures using mixed media techniques. Naturalists will also share the history of the Carolina parakeet. Reserve a seat by calling (573)290-5218.
  • Timberdoodlin’ Time is Friday, March 10, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Ages 8 and up are invited to this opportunity to watch Timberdoodles at Maintz Wildlife Preserve. Reserve your seat on this trip by calling (573)290-5218.

Brostoski added that those who like to watch birds often get excited about providing habitat. Springtime is when songbirds, like bluebirds, need a place to nest and people can help meet that need. She suggests leaving some dead trees for wildlife and replacing potentially dangerous dead trees with nest boxes for cavity nesters such as Eastern bluebirds. Low shrubs and trees such as viburnums and crab apples provide excellent nesting sites, as well as vines such as Wild grapes and Virginia creeper, which also provide fruit for food.

For more information about Our Big Year and nature programs, go online to