Bill Fenimore has led birding excursions throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

He is in the process of publishing bird guides for all 50 states and has received many awards, including the Ludlow Griscom Award, the American Birding Association's highest honor, and the Roger Tory Peterson Nature Education Achievement Award.

Fenimore will share his avian knowledge and love when he gives his "Birding in Our Park City Backyard" at the Swaner EcoCenter on Thursday, May 29, from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The avian expert, owner of the Wild About Birds Nature Center in Layton, will start with a slide show and then take the group on a walk around the Swaner Preserve.

"The slide show will introduce some of the examples of the birds that we'll encounter during our walk that night," Fenimore said during an interview with The Park Record. "I'll show some photos of birds that they may also see in their backyards, depending on where they may be. That way, they'll be able to enjoy nature and will be able to identify the birds when they return home."

The group will also learn what types of foods are appropriate to offer these birds and what kind of water can be used for birds to bathe in.

Fenimore said he likes talking at the Swaner EcoCenter because the Preserve is located in a bird-migratory lane and there are some interesting fowl that pass through this time of year.


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"In the Swaner Preserve area, the swallows have arrived," Fenimore said. "There are a few different species — barn swallow, cliff swallow and tree swallow — that utilize that area where water is located. These birds catch insects and so forth."

Likewise, in the marshy areas, the red-winged blackbirds are ever-present.

"They are very colorful this time of the year, because the males are displaying their chevron plumages and singing songs to the gals in an attempt to attract them to a breeding zone," Fenimore said. "It's a grand time to be out and enjoying these birds."

Other birds the group may see during the walk will include some waterfowl, warblers and other small pestering birds that eat insects, and the sandhill cranes and their colts that nest on the preserve.

"There are also various raptors like red-tailed hawks we might see," Fenimore said. "We may also see another raptor, the bobolink, which is a exciting, because their numbers are low in Utah due to loss of habitat and development.

"A place like the Swaner Preserve, which is a sub-alpine meadow, is so important because it protects the habitat needs these birds have," he said. "And that way, people can still enjoy those birds."

Fenimore became fascinated with birds when he was 4 years old, and when he was 9, he went fishing and saw a strange looking bird on the shore.

"All of a sudden it darted its head into the water and flew off with a minnow," he said.

Amazed, Fenimore visited his neighbor who was a biology teacher at the local high school and asked him what the bird was.

"Being a good teacher, instead of giving me an answer, he gave me a bird book and told me to look it up," Fenimore said.

As he flipped through the book, Fenimore saw how many different birds there were.

"They were all different sizes and they had all these different bills and plumages," he said. "Then I turned the page and saw a picture of the green heron, which was the bird I saw."

That book's author, Roger Tory Peterson, became an important person to Fenimore in this career, and Fenimore came full circle with Peterson a few years ago.

"The American Birding Association gives out awards to birders who have done different things in the world of birding education," Fenimore said. "One of the Ludlow Griscom Award and the other is the Roger Tory Peterson award.

"Ludlow Griscom developed a technique of identifying birds without shooting them and the first person to win that award was Roger Tory Peterson," Fenimore said. "Several years later, I won the same award."

In 2008, the American Birding Association's gave Fenimore the Roger Tory Peterson Nature Education Achievement Award.

"That was amazing," Fenimore said. 

The Swaner EcoCenter, 1258 Center Dr. at Kimball Junction, will host bird expert Bill Fenimore when he presents 'Birding in Our Park City Backyard' on Thursday, May 29, from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.swanerecocenter.org/education-calendar.