Monthly Archives: September 2018

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: The 10 Best Things About Birding

It seems every time I pick up a newspaper or magazine there is a feature story on the 10 best of something or another. It might be the 10 best bagel stores or sushi shops, or maybe the 10 best cars or even the best hot dogs. It seems folks just want to know what other folks think the 10 best of anything might be.

So I thought it would about time that I attempted to list the Top 10 Best Things About birding. And and it was pretty hard to list only 10. But here we go

  • Birding Connects Us to the Rest of the World – It never fails to amaze me that you can go to places like the Meadowlands or even just your backyard and see a tiny bird that just days ago was in South America or the Arctic. Birding has an amazing way of giving us a perspective and understanding that brings everything about nature and people closer together
  • Birders Are Great People– I have been lucky enough to meet some of the kindest and most unselfish people while out birding. There is nothing better than getting outside to enjoy what we love best and being in the company of wonderful friends.
  • Birding Is the Great Equalizer – I have birded with people for years and still have no idea what they do for a living. And best of all it does not matter. When we get outside and enjoy nature there are no doctors, lawyers or janitors. Only birders.
  • Getting a Life Bird – Hard to explain to the uninitiated how exciting it is to see a bird you have never seen before. I have known some folks that nearly had a fainting spell when a rare or new bird was seen from their binoculars
  • Seeing New Places– No matter if it’s a new birding spot around the corner or around the world visiting new places is always exciting and gives us great new experiences and usually great new birds to go along with it!
  • Many Ways to Enjoy Birding– One of the great things about birding is that there is no one way to enjoy it. You can bird the backyard, the state or the world and yet no matter what way you choose to enjoy it, you are still a birder.
  • Learning Something New Every Time Out -If you don’t learn something new every time you are out birding then you are not paying attention. Whether it’s a new bird, new bird behavior, a new plant or an insect, being outdoors will always bring us more knowledge.
  • Birding at Dawn– Being out at dawn and listening to the birds and the world awaken is amazing. If you have not tried it, you need to. You will see the world in a whole new way.
  • Introducing New People to Birding – There is nothing like seeing the smile on someone’s face when they see an eagle or even a Red-winged blackbird for the very first time. Introducing someone to nature and to our bird life will always bring me the greatest joy.
  • Telling Birding Stories– Next to birding itself, telling stories about birding is almost as good. When we are not birding or when birding is slow we all love to tell our very own special birding stories to anyone that will listen. In the end it is all about the birds, the days afield, and the friends and the stories we made along the way .

What are the Top ten things you love about birding ?  Please let me know.You can reach me at

Thank You BCAS!

The NJSEA sends out a hearty thank you to the Bergen County Audubon Society for their very generous donation of $2,500 for improvements to and the beautification of DeKorte Park! BCAS President Don Torino presented the check to the NJSEA’s Gabrielle Bennett-Meany at the Meadowlands Birding Festival this Saturday.

Recent BCAS donations have been used to create a pollinator garden and plant hundreds of native species at the Kingsland Overlook in DeKorte Park. The Overlook now looks better than ever. We look forward to seeing what will be done in the park next!

Meadowlands Birding Festival A Great Success!

We’re thrilled to report that Saturday’s Meadowlands Birding Festival was a huge success!

More than 500 people of all ages visited DeKorte Park throughout the day, participating in bird walks, watching a live raptor demonstration, attending a talk by keynote speaker David Sibley and taking part in kid’s activities.

The birds were out in full force. The very first walk of the day, at Harrier Meadow, yielded 35 species. We’ll have photos from throughout the day later on. Below is a recap of the Harrier Meadow walk and Species Count by the NJSEA’s Drew McQuade.

Harrier Meadow Walk Recap



75F, clear, calm

People began to arrive a few minutes before the scheduled start time of the walk, which was to be the first of the day.  Quickly a group of roughly 30 people assembled as the day’s first bird, a Peregrine Falcon, flew overhead.   Don Torino of Bergan County Audubon made some brief opening remarks, welcoming those assembled to the Meadowlands.  I followed his comments with a very brief history of the site’s enhancement, and then we took off into the site.

The first bird of note within the site was a young Bald Eagle perched in a tree in the first impoundment.  The eagle took off as a Belted Kingfisher hopped into the tree letting loose a series of raucous calls.  This would be the first of many kingfishers seen at the festival.

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Bergen County Master Gardener Program Now Accepting Applications!

Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Bergen County is now accepting applications for its next Master Gardener Class, which begins Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. 

People who enjoy gardening and helping others are encouraged to apply to the program. Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who assist Rutgers Cooperative Extension & the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) in its mission to deliver horticulture programs and information to the general public.

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