Families flocked to Sunset Park on Sunday to learn more about the birds that live and migrate in southern Nevada.
Jasper Hunter-Roy, 7, his parents and three younger siblings even arrived early Sunday to help clean up the park.
“I was here to pick up the trash for the birds,” Jasper said. “I don’t want any birds to get stuck in the wires.”
Starting at 11 a.m., kids decorated t-shirts and played bird-inspired games. Jasper won two buttons and a poster after turning into a pretzel while playing “What’s for dinner,” a version of Twister in which the kids listened to clues about a bird and played. placed their hands and feet on the photos that they thought were part of the bird’s diet. .
Crystalaura Jackson, recreational culture specialist for Clark County Parks and Recreation, said the event also serves as a reminder to people not to feed poultry.
Many of the geese in Sunset Park have “angel wings,” a joint problem that causes their wings to be constantly stretched, Jackson said. The strain is caused by eating a diet high in bread and crackers, which contain too many carbohydrates, she said.
“This is a direct result of growing up on a diet that is not good for them,” she said. “It’s really sad; they can’t fly when they have this.
Feeding birds can negatively affect water quality, can make birds aggressive towards people, and can even delay migration because birds won’t leave if fed, Jackson said.
“Appreciate them, learn more about them, take a picture of them, draw them – there are many ways to appreciate wildlife and let it be wild,” she said.
At another table, Jasper learned that its “wing span” is similar to that of a Northern Harrier. He said he would rather be a peacock because they “show off their beautiful tails”.
Jasper’s father Jeremy Roy, 26, said the event was perfect for his son, who cares deeply about the environment. Jasper and his 4-year-old sister, Isla, were hopping from table to table, showing pictures of birds and insects in shadow boxes and asking questions.
“We just saw him have a very big interest in animals,” Roy said.
Liz LaRue, 70, sat at a table next to a spyglass, a kind of short-range telescope used by bird watchers. She and her husband, who run the birdandhike.com website, were at Sunday’s event to teach people how to use field guides and identify birds.
LaRue and her husband have been birdwatching since they met 40 years ago.
“It’s something that you can do anywhere in the world, spend as much or as little time, you can have tons of gear – you know, glasses and binoculars – or you can just sit back. and watch, ”LaRue said. “It’s just a really neat part of the natural world.”
It is especially important to get children interested in birds and other wildlife, because the future of the environment is in their hands, she said.
“They are the next generation that is going to take control of this place,” said LaRue as a duck began to gossip obnoxiously from 20 feet away. “We cannot survive in cement and steel.”
By 1 p.m. Sunday, she hadn’t spotted any rare birds in Sunset Park, but she hadn’t given up.
“Everything I’ve seen today is expected, but you never know what’s going to come up,” La Rue said. “So you have to keep looking.”