Bird lover ready to help the Swaner EcoCenter relaunch its Avian Adventures field trips |

Bird lover ready to help the Swaner EcoCenter relaunch its Avian Adventures field trips

First of the season scheduled for May 22

Utah birder and field trip guide Kenny Frisch, with his co-guide and daughter, Violet, will take bird lovers on a viewing excursion on Saturday at the Swaner Preserve. This event will be the first Avian Adventures session since the coronavirus pandemic shut the program down last year.
Courtesy of Kenny Frisch

Utah birder Kenny Frisch is ready to relaunch early morning Avian Adventures this Saturday at the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the sandhill cranes, again,” Frisch said. “I don’t know if they’ll have babies at this point, but the adults should be paired up. And the preserve is one of the best spots in the state to see them.”

The group will also seek out various ducks, swallows and blackbirds that are out and using the preserve for nesting, he said.

The EcoCenter will provide sanitized binoculars for each attendee, but participants are invited to bring their own, according to Frisch.

Masks will be required at check-in and participants are also encouraged to wear hiking boots or shoes that are good on unstable ground and can get wet, he said.

“The excursion itself is about a mile round trip,” Frisch said. “We go to the eastern pond, which is about a quarter mile out. Then we’ll hit the smaller ponds, west of that, before circling back to the entrance.”

Near the entrance the group will visit a fellow birder and local resident Margaret Sloan, according to Frisch.

“Margaret has an amazing garden that attracts various hummingbirds, finches and sparrows,” he said. “She is a great host who lets us come and watch for birds and allows people to stay as late as they want. It’s always a treat to end the trip there.”

Frisch has led Avian Adventures on the Swaner Preserve since 2016, when he was invited by then-conservation coordinator Brittany Ingalls to check out the 1,200-acre habitat.

“I fell in love with the area, because it was great to have this unique habitat and place of tranquility in the middle of an area that was getting more and more urbanized,” Frisch said. “The preserve is a great nesting area and a migratory stop into Canada, which means it’s a great place to teach ecological lessons.”

After spending some time on the preserve, Ingalls asked Frisch if he would be interested in hosting birding field trips.

“So I took the plunge and have been doing that ever since,” he said.

The bird-watching field trips were canceled in 2020 due to coronavirus concerns, and Frisch felt the void.

“Last year was a bummer,” Frisch said. “I really missed getting out there and walking out on the preserve and seeing my birds, because I couldn’t figure out a safe way for everyone to participate and try to stay socially distanced. So it’s going to be nice to be out with people again.”

Frisch’s aunt rustled his feathers and got him interested in birding.

“It’s been a lifelong obsession,” he said. “Other hobbies have come and gone, but birding has always been a place where I can stabilize myself. It’s something I could always do, because you can find birds anywhere you go.”

Frisch also enjoys the sense of community among birders.

“It’s nice sharing what you see with others, and it’s nice learning and teaching about the diversity that’s out there,” he said. “I love sharing my love of birds, even common birds like redwing blackbirds, and show off the subtle beauty.”

Spring Avian Adventures

When: 7-10 a.m. on Saturday, May 22

Where: Swaner EcoCenter, 1258 Center Drive

Cost: $20 for non-members, $10 for members


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