Bird enthusiast builds and teaches others about different feeders at workshop

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By Jordan Goltz
Meridian Times staff writer

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP- Songbird enthusiast Gene Wasserman hosted a Bird Feeder Workshop at the Harris Nature Center where children and parents could build and purchase their very own bird feeders, while learning about different kinds of feeders and songbirds.

“It’s a hobby that got out of control,” said Wasserman, a retired bird enthusiast, who enjoys giving back to the community. “All profits go to the Nature Center, as well as some donations to the Boy Scouts.”

On Sept. 29, 2013, participants were given the chance to put together one of four types of feeders: a hopper, suet, bluebird, or peanut butter style feeder. The event was free. In addition, participants had

Gene Wasserman helps the children build their feeders

Bird enthusiast Gene Wasserman helps out with building the bird feeders

the option to purchase the bird feeder that they built. The feeders ranged from $6 to $25.

While participants built their feeders, Wasserman explained the purpose of each feeder, the types of feeders particular birds chose to eat from, as well as the different seeding that goes into each feeder.

“The feeders should be hung high enough so that rats, snakes, and other critters cannot get into them,” said Wasserman. “Adding a tray to the feeder to catch spilled seed can provide a landing platform for birds and prevent moldy seed on the ground that can make birds sick.”

Jane Ball, a pack leader for local Boy Scout Pack 393 built a hopper feeder with one of her scouts.

“Scouts have achievements and electives to earn toward their bear badge,” said Ball. “I got an email and saw that this workshop was going on so I picked up Wyatt and brought him here so he could work toward his bear badge.”

Pack 393 consists of a handful of first through fifth graders. Ball explained that the numbers for the pack were drastically down this year but didn’t say why.

“Pack 393 use to have 100 boys about 13 years ago,” said Ball. “Now we have seven.”

Worker Amanda Lorenz of the Harris Nature Center helped with the feeders. A graduate of MSU, Lorenz has been working at the Nature Center for a year and said that along with Wasserman’s workshop, other workshops are held at the Nature Center quite often.

Kits consisted of the necessary materials

The bird feeder kits that every participant was given

“The Nature Center consists of a variety of programs for both adults and children. We hope to promote and protect its surrounding ecosystems,” said Lorenz.

Wasserman offers about 30 programs each year, birdhouses in the spring and feeders in the fall. Workshops like these continue to give back to the Nature Center in form of profits as well as donations to the Boy Scouts. Wasserman hopes to keep giving his knowledge of songbirds to the youth and educate the public on proper feeder etiquette.

“The worst is when you put a bird house and don’t take care of it,” said Wasserman.

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