Birding Basics - Tennessee

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Saturday April 13

8:00 AM  –  5:00 PM

Guide: Keith Watson
Location: Twin Creeks Science Center. Gatlinburg TN

Spend a full day with expert birder Keith Watson as he introduces us to the wide variety of activities associated with the world of birding!
We'll begin our day with a morning of classroom instruction on how you can bird anywhere and especially here in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • How to choose the appropriate tools for birding such as binoculars, spotting scopes and field guides
  • Take a glimpse at apps for cellular devices
  • Citizen Science - How you can participate by recording our data in Cornell's eBird website by providing information necessary to improve bird conservation efforts by agencies that use your data. 

Lunch is on your own from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. We will reconvene at Twin Creeks Science Center Visitor and head to Twin Creeks Trail for a practice bird walk to review what we learned in the morning.

Mileage: 2 miles maximum

Activity Rating: Easy. Expect to walk on uneven surfaces with trip hazards such as exposed roots and rocks.

What to bring: Wear sturdy shoes, binoculars, field guide and plenty of water and food for your comfort. A personal first-aid kit and hiking sticks may be helpful as well. If you wish to participate in eBird, we recommend you download and create an account with the free eBird mobile app from your device "store" prior to the event kick-off. Don't worry, we'll help you from there!

About our guide: Keith Watson, a native to Sevier County, has over 35 years of national (coast to coast) birding experience, including East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. He began birding as a conservationist in the mid-1970’s in Knoxville, TN as a student at the University of Tennessee. While working in several national park units such as Shenandoah National Park, Virgin Islands National Park and more. During that time, Keith had the support of National Park Service management to promote and coordinate bird conservation and partnerships and developed an Avian Conservation Implementation Plan for each national park unit in the southeastern region of the NPS (57). Currently, Keith is leading bird tours for local organizations including, the Great Smoky Mountains Association, Smoky Mountain Outdoors, Buckhorn Inn, the City of Gatlinburg and Wilderness Wildlife Week. Together with fellow birders, he has documented birds never before reported for Sevier County, TN. 

Questions about joining this event? Call 865.436.7318 extension 349 or email Dana Murphy.