The Internet is an amazing tool for learning about birds and the birding community. During Internet surfing, I learned about two amazing places. The first was the Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine and the other was The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
The Audubon Society
I remember reading about The Audubon Society offering birding courses at the Hog Island Audubon Camp on Hog Island. I read all the information on the website and became interested in attending a session. The cost was expensive and finding time was another factor along with the logistics of getting to Hog Island from New York City. Instead I just signed up for a membership with Audubon.
Years later I would finally get to Hog Island. In the meantime, Audubon increased my knowledge of birds and led me to my first purchase of a pair of binoculars during a visit to the Cape May Bird Observatory NJ Audubon SocietyThat day marked my first day as an official bird watcher! I was on a family trip to visit Cape May for the first time. Because I was a member of the Audubon Society, I stopped in the Audubon visitor center to learn about birding Cape May.
After purchasing my first pair of binoculars at Audubon, I headed over to the marsh area near the lighthouse to look for birds.
I recall seeing lots of Purple Martins in the Purple Martin Houses in front of the light house and of watching an Osprey diving for fish in the Marsh.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website was interesting and I soon joined the lab so I could receive their magazine, Living Bird, and learn more about birding and enjoy the great photos of birds in the magazine.
I decided to drive up to the Lab when I learned that they had a visitor center with nature trails. Traveling to Ithaca was a great mini vacation. The college town is fun place to visit.
The Lab is on the North side of Ithaca and is a short drive from Ithaca’s town center. It is a modern building with large windows facing a pond on the first floor when you enter. There are bird feeders outside the windows offering good viewing of the “locals.” There is a gift shop on the first floor selling binoculars. What is great about this is that you can test the binoculars at the large windows.
I tried a bunch out and ended up buying a mid-level Eagle Optics binoculars that was a step up from my entry-level binoculars I previously purchased. With my new binoculars, I headed out on the wooden trails in front of the Lab. I thought to myself that the folks that work at the Lab are lucky to have such a nice building to work in and beautiful trails to go for walks in. If you have never been to Ithaca. I recommend a trip with a stop at the Lab!