“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Join Mikael and Amy as we slow down and experience quiet and contemplative ways of enjoying birds and being in nature. Birds, with their beautiful songs and varied language, rich colors, and interesting behaviors, are wonderful nature connection and mindfulness teachers. Marveling at a hummingbird hovering perfectly still in mid-air or listening to the ancient call of migrating Sandhill Cranes, we are pulled effortlessly into mindfulness, completely absorbed into their worlds. During this group, we will explore why we bird, what birds mean to us, and what it really means to know a bird. We’ll also learn about some of the interesting research which looks at how nature, birds, and bird songs affect our mental and physical health. And we will spend the afternoon immersing ourselves in the fascinating world of bird language. There will be opportunities for experiencing mindfulness in nature, including some solo time for sitting or wandering at your own pace.
Please note this event is not focused on high bird numbers or diversity. All experience levels are welcome. It is not necessary to be a seasoned birder to fully enjoy this experience. Likewise, no experience with mindfulness is needed. Binoculars will be helpful to bring, but are not necessary. We will be staying close to the pavilion. We will go on a few slow walks on flat terrain, each about ½ mile. There will also be several opportunities to sit for a while outdoors, and you are encouraged to bring a comfortable cushion or lightweight camping chair. We will also bring a few different seating options participants can borrow. Please bring your lunch, as we will plan to eat at the pavilion. You may also wish to bring: notebook or journal, water bottle, backpack, sunscreen, hat, comfortable walking shoes (tennis shoes are fine), insect repellent, and hiking stick.
About Mikael: Mikael Behrens has been an avid birder and amateur naturalist in the Austin area since the early 1990’s. He teaches an introductory birding by ear class for Travis Audubon, leads two monthly bird walks, and is a Master Naturalist in the Capital Area chapter. He contributes to several citizen science projects including eBird, iNaturalist, Christmas Bird Counts, and he’s always on the Port Aransas Spoonbills team for the Great Texas Birding Classic.
About Amy: Amy Sugeno is a former wildlife biologist who spent much of her career working with bats, songbirds and waterfowl, and rare species for over 16 years before switching careers to become a social worker. Throughout her biology career, she greatly enjoyed teaching people about the natural world. She now leads birding walks with Travis Audubon Society and for the Balcones Songbird Festival and bat walks with her bat detector at various preserves and youth camps. Amy now works as an ecotherapist, teaching and helping people connect with the healing aspects of nature.
This team will bird on Saturday, April 6, 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM at Baker Sanctuary in Leander. The fee to register for this team is $75, but if you wish you are welcome to provide an additional donation! This team is limited to 12 participants.