Northern Rough-winged Swallows. John Hannan

April 2024 Programs

If you’re a birder, April is a happy month for sure. Nothing beats catching the first glimpse of returning migratory birds, and we’re here to lead you to them. Register early – spring programs fill up!

Registration is required for all programs by emailing Susan at unless otherwise specified.

We have binoculars!
If you’d like to borrow a pair, please ask when you register.

Come on a mixed habitat walk in search of some early birds…
Join our monthly First Wednesday’s Bird Walk in Somers where Naturalist Tait Johansson will lead an exploration of water, wetland, grassland, and woodland habitats. Early spring migrants will be the focus; we hope to spot Palm Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, possibly even a Rusty Blackbird.
Wednesday, April 3, 7:30-9:30am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy-Moderate (a steep incline on the trail). Please email Susan to register.

Do you want to hear what Tait hears?
Get ready for spring migration! Birding by ear can be one of the most rewarding yet challenging ways to identify our avian friends. Naturalist Tait Johansson will demystify bird calls and sounds in this special Workshop: Birding By Ear. By the end of the morning, you will be able to apply a methodology for identifying and categorizing a variety of bird vocalizations. Great for novice and intermediate birders.
Saturday, April 6, 9:00am-12:30pm. Cost: Free to members; $10 to non-members. Please email Susan to register.

Here’s a twist… look at the trees, not in them!
The early days of spring provide a chance to witness the unfolding of new life as trees transition from winter into the next growing season. Hit the trail at our Hunt-Parker Sanctuary with Naturalist Tait Johansson for an Early Spring Tree ID Nature Walk to learn how to identify trees before the leaf canopy fills in. Tait will explain how to use a tree’s shape and structure, bark, and buds to identify trees in this transitional time, and there may even be flowers and early leaves to help us hone our skills.
Sunday, April 7, 10:00-11:30am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Moderate (areas of the trail are steep!). Please email Susan to register.

Embrace the season and take a break at the same time…
Master Reiki Practitioner Catherine Downs is back for another season of Nature Meditations at Bylane Farm! Take a break from your morning routine and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors by joining us for an hour in the peace of the Native Garden.  Catherine will lead us in a seated, guided reiki inspired meditation, and follow with an immersive slow walk focusing on using the senses to connect to the natural world around us.
Tuesday, April 9, 10:00-11:00am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Email Susan to register at

Wildlife photography? Yes!
For our April Monthly Lecture Series, we’re excited to welcome amateur photographer Barry Roberts for Loving Life Through the Lens to hear about his journey into wildlife photography. Barry will share some of his work along with stories behind the photos and learnings from his experiences, both about the wildlife and ways to capture better pictures.

Barry Roberts is an amateur photographer, originally from England, who has lived in the Katonah area for 20+ years. After retiring from corporate life, Barry’s interest in photography was reinvigorated and he developed a passion for wildlife photography. His recent trips include the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Botswana, Ireland and the Saltee Islands, Yellowstone and the Tetons.

Wednesday, April 10, 7:00pm; refreshments at 6:45pm. Katonah Village Library. Registration is not needed.

Honeysuckle, Highbush Blueberry, Multiflora Rose – we have it all, and more.
Can you tell the difference between beneficial plans and those pesky invasive species? Whether you can or want to hone your skills, dig in with Naturalist and Bedford Audubon board member Steve Ricker for a Habitat Renewal Day. Steve will start the session by sharing tips to discern the good from the bad, and together we’ll work to improve the rare shrub habitat that surrounds Bylane farm and/or the native garden. Projects this month may include transplanting native honeysuckle vines, installing a trellis, preparing a water feature, or rescuing native Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina) from being smothered by Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora) and other invasive species. Tools and gloves will be provided, or you can bring your own (loppers and hand pruners are the most used tools). Plants with thorns, and poison ivy may be present.
Saturday, April 13, 11:00am-12:30pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy-Moderate. Please let us know you’re coming by emailing Susan at

They’re back… Common Ravens!
Meet some of our regular birders on our popular monthly Third Thursday’s Bird Walk with Naturalist Tait Johansson in the Cross River Dam area of Katonah. We’ll be on the lookout for mid-April migrants like Blue-headed Vireo, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Pine Warbler, as well as regulars like the dam’s resident Common Ravens. This is a great introductory walk for those new to birding, as well as a return to old favorites for those with more experience.
Thursday, April 18, 7:30-9:30am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Please email Susan to register.

Don’t miss the wonderful sights at the largest peninsula on the Hudson River!
Join Naturalist Tait Johansson on a spring Field Trip to Croton Point Park, a popular Westchester County birding location and part of the Lower Hudson River Important Bird Area (IBA). The capped landfill, once the feeding grounds for thousands of gulls is now a meadow, and the star attractant for birds year-round. We will be looking out for Purple Martin, Savannah Sparrow, and new spring arrivals, possibly Wilson’s Snipe, among others.
Saturday, April 20, 7:30am-12pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy-moderate. Registration is required by emailing Susan at

Can you name a bird that, when threatened, prefers to escape by running through marsh vegetation instead of flying?
The Virginia Rail is one such bird, and we’ll be listening for one on Tait Johansson’s Migration Madness Bird Walk to the William Clough Preserve in Brewster. We’ll amble along the trails of this 58-acre preserve that is mostly hemlock forest, then along abandoned railroad tracks that abut Ice Pond and an adjacent shrub swamp. Possible sightings include Green Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and many others. And don’t forget that Virginia Rail!
Tuesday, April 23, 7:30am-12:00pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Please email Susan to register. Registration is limited due to limited parking at the preserve.

Brush up on your Shakespeare – through birds!
Explore The Birds of Shakespeare with Missy Dunaway in a Zoom presentation hosted by Bronx River Sound Shore Audubon. Bedford Audubon is co-sponsoring this program along with the other Westchester Audubon chapters and we expect it will be a very special event. Missy Dunaway is a Maine-based artist who is creating a series of paintings to catalog the 65 birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Roughly one-third of the way through this journey, Dunaway will give us a peak into her work in this presentation. Birds afforded Shakespeare a rich metaphorical palette, with references appearing everywhere from Juliette’s words of love to Romeo, to the three witches’ ominous incantation in “Macbeth”. Dunaway’s beautiful, ingenious paintings incorporate not only the birds, but also the botanical elements of their habitats and the allegorical and mythological allusions that make them so meaningful in Shakespeare’s work.
Missy Dunaway is a 2010 Arts and Humanities graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Among her many awards have been a Folger Institute Fellowship which supported, in part, her Shakespeare project, and a Fulbright Fellowship.  Her thus-far competed bird paintings can be viewed at
Tuesday, April 23, 7:00pm. Cost: Free. Register through Bronx River Sound Shore Audubon at

The floodgates are opening…
Get up a little earlier to join Tait for Migration Madness on Maple Avenue in Katonah as the migration floodgates start to open. It’s the same location as our monthly Thursday’s walks, but we’re heading out earlier at this special time of year to look for returning Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and Northern Parula and other late-April returning migrants before the trees fully leaf out.
Thursday, April 25, 7:00-9:00am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Please email Susan to register.

Come on a bird walk through a public garden.
The Friends of Lasdon Park & Arboretum invites you to join our own Tait Johansson for an early morning Lasdon Public Gardens Bird Walk. We’re delighted to partner with Westchester County Parks for this event and hope to see you there.
Saturday, April 27, 8:00-10:00am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Registration is required through the Friends website at

The madness continues…
Join Naturalist Tait Johansson on his spring Field Trip to Marshlands Conservancy/Rye Nature Center, both great spots for spring migrants. This trip is timed for later songbird migrants such as Blackpoll Warbler and Canada Warbler. We’ll be looking for Osprey which return to their treetop nests and fly fast and low across the harbor. At the seashore, we could spot American Oystercatcher and Snowy Egret.
Tuesday, April 30, 7:00am-12:00pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Moderate. Please email Susan to register.


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