Real Recap: The Bird Days of Summer

by Camelia Zollars, Public Programs & Partnership Specialist

With each season’s passing there is a story to tell. A sharing of the ways in which the season slowly etched transformation within nature. And in us too, by the unique experiences we shared with others outside.

Now we are deep into a beautiful Pacific Northwest fall, where the trees are electric hues of yellow, oranges, and reds instead of dried browns. But we are going back to the summer season for a real recap of the Bird Days of Summer, a series of events hosted by Bird Alliance of Oregon’s adult education team from June through August.

Group of people on bikes for a birding outing
Bikes-n-Birds/Bird Days of Summer '22, photo by Tara Lemezis

Over the summer, we met many new faces. As it turns out, half of the Bird Days of Summer crew were attending a Bird Alliance of Oregon event for the first time, with many giving birding a first try, too! A Bike and Bird participant shared that “the leaders made this trip so much fun and they made birding finally feel approachable to me. I’ve always been ‘not sure’ if birding was something I could do, it seemed overwhelming. On this trip I learned that it’s not, they made it approachable and I’m so excited to get to identify birds in my neighborhood.”

This experience captures the reality that although birding is for everyone, it may not initially feel that way to folks who’ve never tried it. But this highlights an important piece of the Bird Days of Summer events: creating approachable spaces to explore the birds and nature around us.

Looking back at summer, I recall the warmth of hospitality and community. Topaz Farm, a three-generation family farm using regenerative practices, hosted two Birds and Bevvies events. Baby Tree Swallows popped their heads out of nest boxes, American Kestrels perched in the farm fields, and we delighted in cold bevvies while guessing at bird trivia. This was the ultimate summer farm experience.

Community-building continued with Guero Bird Club, a club focused on chill vibes, good food and drinks, and birds, for the Accessible Sunday Perch. With agua frescas in hand, we birded by seat and gazed at Mallards and mystery ducks again and again, hoping maybe another bird might show up. Lastly, we partnered with People of Color Outdoors, where Black, Indigenous, and all people of color can enjoy nature in a caring community, for a Fly Fits bird walk. Folks dressed in their favorite bird-themed gear, and to add to it, Bird Collective gifted everyone with Boat-tailed Grackle patches!

The summer season shaped us through community with others, the hospitality of new places, and the risk of trying something new with people we’ve never met. It’s powerful to imagine there is a time and season for everything.