It was all about birds on Saturday at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. The center held one of its Winter Kids Programs called “Celebrate Birds.”
The day started out with children learning about different species of birds that come to Cheyenne Bottoms during the winter.
“Kids get a lot of hands-on experience during these programs,” Wetlands Assistant Elizabeth Bainbridge said. “This really opens their eyes and they get to experience this first-hand.”
The demonstration consisted of flash cards with different birds and a live demonstration of a hawk that can be found at the bottoms.
After the classroom discussion, the children made birdhouses out of gourds.
The children got to decorate their birdhouse with different types of paint using an assortment of sponges to do the painting and they got to glue moss on the house for a perch for the birds.
After the birdhouses were completed, the children got to go for a walk along the nature trails at the center to identify the birds they just learned about.
“Once the kids learn about the birds in the classroom, I think its easier for them to understand them in the wild,” Bainbridge said. “And they get to understand the role the birds play in the wild.”
The next Winter Kids Program at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center will be Feb. 20. It is called “Master of the Night Sky.”
The children will get to learn about owls and have a live demonstration of owls. They will also get to dissect an owl pellet and make a bone chart and a simple owl craft.
For more information or to register call the Kansas Wetlands Education Center 877-243-9268.
The Cheyenne Bottoms ecosystem is a 41,000-acre basin, located in Barton County.
The protected land consists of the 19,857 acres Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism and the 7,694-acre Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy.
Cheyenne Bottoms is primarily a prairie marsh but also includes wet meadows, grasslands, agricultural land, shelterbelts and riparian areas.
Management of the Wildlife Area is directed at migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, while the Preserve manages for grassland birds and shorebirds.
Cheyenne Bottoms is considered one of the most important ecosystems in Kansas and has been designated a “Wetlands of International Importance” by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, a Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Site and a “Globally Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy.
At least 347 of the 472 species of birds known to occur in Kansas have been recorded at Cheyenne Bottoms. There are approximately 138 species that breed and nest on the area, 148 species that may winter here and nearly 70 species that may occur year-round.
Approximately 40 species of waterfowl and nearly 40 species of shorebirds have been reported at Cheyenne Bottoms.
In both spring and fall migration, large number of geese, ducks and shorebirds can be observed in the tens of thousands when habitat conditions are favorable.