KEENE, N.Y. — The Adirondack Land Trust welcomes Old Forge Library to Birding for All, a program that donates a backpack, binoculars, and reference materials to a library’s circulating collection to facilitate local bird watching.

“Birding for All offers a chance for people to try birding for themselves and meet our winged friends,” said Old Forge Library Director Linda Weal. “This is a perfect fit with our library’s mission to provide learning opportunities and materials to people who live in Old Forge.”

Each Birding for All backpack contains Vortex Viper HD 8X42 binoculars; Sibley Birds East, a field guide for identifying birds; Adirondack Birding, a guidebook of places to spot birds in the region; materials on how to use and care for binoculars; and a notebook for users to record and share bird sightings and their experiences while using the backpack. Each backpack and its contents exceed $725 in value. The program is designed to expand access to birding by removing cost barriers to participation.

“Many migratory songbirds, warblers in particular, are now sporting their fall plumage and are already traveling south as part of their annual fall migration, which makes this a fun time of year for birding,” said Adirondack Land Trust Stewardship Manager Derek Rogers. “I recommend looking for songbird migrants in hedgerows and forest edges that are well-lit and warmed by morning or afternoon sun.”

The Adirondack Land Trust launched Birding for All in July 2022. Since then, seven libraries have joined the program: Keene Valley Library, Saranac Lake Free Library, Wadhams Free Library, Lake Placid Public Library, Belden Noble Memorial Library in Essex, Paine Memorial Free Library in Willsboro, and now the Old Forge Library. Each library has a birding backpack available for patrons.

“People who check out the backpack find they love birding, and often renew the kit several times to use it longer,” said Keene Valley Library Director Karen Glass. “The items in the backpack are such high quality and the program is a valuable addition to what the library offers.”

In 2021, according to the Outdoor Industry Association, 14.8 million Americans traveled more than a quarter mile from their home or vehicle to go birding. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that 45 million Americans overall participate in birding.

The Adirondack Land Trust’s Birding for All program was initially funded by a grant from Northern New York Audubon’s Joseph & Joan Cullman Conservation Foundation Program and has expanded with thanks to grants from the Glasser Foundation Inc. and other generous donors.

Photo by Derek Rogers