Spread your wings and fly with the Feral Pigeons, NCF’s birdwatching club
This is a mockingbird that was spotted on the walk the Feral Pigeons held on Sept. 13. Photo courtesy of Doug Hovland.

Spread your wings and fly with the Feral Pigeons, NCF’s birdwatching club

The Feral Pigeons —New College’s aptly-named birdwatching club— are ready to spread their wings and fly into the upcoming year bringing promises of more events and a welcoming community.

 Formed in Spring 2022, the club consists of students interested in bird watching, also referred to as “birding.” It was created by third-year Sidney Craig, pulling inspiration from a group Birding Independent Study Project (ISP) conducted every year by Associate Professor of Biology Elizabeth Leininger. Unfortunately, the group was unable to host more than one event in the spring term, due to the club’s formation being late in the academic year. However, in this upcoming semester, more events are scheduled to be held both on and off campus. The group hosted its third event of the semester on Sept. 13.

Anyone is welcome to join the events hosted; no experience is required to be a part of this club. Events will be posted on Novoconnect and the Corq app, and RSVPs are helpful when wanting to attend these events. Binoculars are provided on a first come, first serve basis as the club has limited access to these materials. However, birdwatchers can often share a pair, and binoculars are not required to have a good time!

One such event hosted by the Feral Pigeons are the bird walks, where the club walks to a designated area as a group, stopping to look at birds on the way to their destination. When a bird is spotted, everyone will stop as a group to observe the animal in its natural habitat. Of course anyone can go bird watching on their own, but according to Feral Pigeon’s Co-president, second-year Meghan Courtade, “It’s helpful to go birding with multiple people—especially if you’re inexperienced.” Going birding with a group allows multiple people to be on the lookout for any birds hiding in trees.

Birding has many opportunities for different students. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Area of Concentration (AOC) students often attend these bird walks in order to observe these animals and how they interact with their environment.

The club is encouraging students of all interests to join a bird walk because they can be rewarding in many different ways. Bird walks can be a way to explore campus, enjoy nature or simply take a break from academics.

Not only are the Feral Pigeons hoping to diversify their audience, they are also hoping to create an ecological impact by installing bird feeders around campus. The Feral Pigeons are hoping to collaborate further with Leininger on the Birding ISP available in January. Courtade recommends this ISP for first-year students who are unsure as to what to do for their first ISP—especially STEM AOCs—and for first-years to attend a Feral Pigeons meeting: “It’s a good time to explore and try different things.”

Courtade would also like to bring attention to available officer positions in the Feral Pigeons club. The club is currently looking for a Secretary and a Social Media Manager, and to those who are interested in attending an event or applying for a leadership position, please reach out to either Co-Presidents: Meghan Courtade (m.courtade25@ncf.edu) or Nisreen Kalai (n.kalai25@ncf.edu).

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