Feather Fest planned for May 1
By Steve Petznick
So what does this mean for the citizens of New London?
It means public places within the city are actively being improved for bird life and in the process; the parks become a more enjoyable place to visit. In key locations like Hatten Park, invasive plant species are being removed with the help of seventh grade students who enjoy an afternoon of removing Tartarian Honeysuckle in an event called Tug-a-suckle.
The city gardener is replacing invasive plants like Japanese Barberry with native vegetation that will benefit birds and still look attractive along roadways. City employees are removing Japanese knotweed on public lands where possible.
Since this is an extremely aggressive species from Asia, it will alter the current landscape if left unchallenged. The hope is private landowners will remove it also.
Citizens of New London have placed nest boxes in the parks and cemeteries to help cavity-nesting songbirds like bluebirds, swallows and wood ducks.
At the Senior High School, the science and environmental education teacher, John Ruckdashel, is working with students to install a bird friendly landscape outside the windows of the library. The native plants will bloom at different times of the growing season adding color and beauty while providing food and cover for migrating and nesting birdlife.
During all the seasons of the year people, are engaged in viewing birds. In fall and winter, folks are gathering valuable research on chimney swifts and conducting winter bird surveys.
New London is once again hosting Feather Fest in celebration of migratory birds.
This free family -friendly event will be held at Hatten Park’s Large Shelter from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday May 1,
Informational talks, walks, games, crafts, activities, free horse drawn wagon rides, building bird feeders, and healthy concessions are available at reasonable prices are all part of the day’s events. Participants interested in helping out duck life can build and take home a cedar waterfowl nest box kit for $40 per box thanks to Ducks Unlimited.
New London citizens can sign up to participate in the Best Bird Friendly Yard Contest.
Registration and judging guidelines can be found at www.newlondon.org. The winner of the contest will receive one 50-pound bag of bird seed a month for an entire year compliments of CHS Larsen Coop of New London.
CHS Larson is a major sponsor of Feather Fest.
The daylong event is hosted by the New London Park and Recreation Department, www.newlondon.org and Mosquito Hill Nature Center, www.mosquitohill.com.