By: Karlee Kocon, Communications Intern
It’s that time of year again – Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and everyone is thinking of something to do. If you are looking for a fun activity on a budget, I suggest giving birding a try!
Birding is a free activity that is fun to do with your Valentine or your friends. There’s a few things you must consider when looking for birds. They are most active in the morning and evening hours and can be found on the lakes, perching over open fields, or jumping from limb-to-limb in trees and bushes. One of my favorite places to go birding is Moraine State Park in Slippery Rock. Moraine State Park is a great place to see a variety of bird species, as well as the perfect spot to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing, fishing, kayaking, disc golf playing, picnicking, photographing and more.
With 16,725 acres, it’s impossible to walk through Moraine and not see a bird. In February and during the winter months, you’ll see raptor birds – such as Bald Eagles – Sharp-Shinned Hawks, Kestrels, Red-Tailed Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks. If you listen closely you can also find backyard birds such as White-Breasted Nuthatches, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Northern Flickers and Pileated Woodpeckers. Perhaps migrating waterfowl are more your type of bird; Moraine is home to Hooded Mergansers, Pied-Billed Grebes, Ruddy Ducks, American Coots, and Buffleheads.
Moraine State Park is only a 40-minute trip for me, so I often make a day trip out of it! The Grove City Outlets are close by, as well as McConnell’s Mill State Park. After you are done adventuring outdoors, there are so many restaurants to choose from. I love going to Rachel’s Roadhouse, Elephant & Castle, and North Country Brewing Company.
Every time I’ve gone to Moraine State Park, I’ve never been disappointed. There are birds everywhere! I love taking photos and have captured some of my best shots at Moraine. It’s a surprise every time. This Valentine’s Day weekend, I’ll be taking my camera in one hand and boyfriend in the other and heading to Moraine. While we typically go kayaking at the lake, we’re going to mix things up a bit and try out some of the hiking trails. Afterwards, we’ll be going to the North Country Brewing Company, because nothing says “I love you” like a mouth-watering barbeque bacon burger and a cold, craft beer!
This Valentine’s Day weekend, Venture Outdoors is having a Member’s Only Winter Bird Count Walk at the beautiful Emerald Park on February 13.
Can’t make it out to the parks? Bird from your own backyard! The National Audubon Society is conducting a Backyard Bird Count between February 12 and 15 to help gain a better understanding the distribution of backyard birds. Click here to learn more about their efforts.