The Sauk Prairie area is chock full of places perfect for bird watching. With bald eagles beginning to nest in the trees along the Wisconsin River, it’s a great time to check out one of many bird watching kits available at the Sauk City and Ruth Culver libraries. The kits are available for anyone wanting to avoid the crowds Bald Eagle Watching Days brings, or for those who want to join in on the revelry of an event that celebrates the U.S. national bird.
Bird City Wisconsin, a group that recognizes municipalities that make its urban areas bird-friendly, donated the kits to both libraries as part of a grant it received several years ago.
According to Barb Barzen, Bird City Wisconsin member and vice president of the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council, said several years ago the Sauk Prairie area held a bird-a-thon to raise money for local bird-related activities. “We raised about $1,000 and used part of that money to purchase bird watching kits for each library,” Barzen said. She said the libraries were chosen as repositories for the kits because of their accessibility to people, provides a good learning experience and is overall “a good place to have that kind of resource.”
While representatives from both libraries said the kits do get used occasionally, they felt they could be used more.
“I’m not sure enough people know we have them,” said Emily Judd, Sauk City Library director. “Recently we had a star-gazing program here, and the presenter told us our binoculars are more powerful than the original telescope. So they can be used for star-gazing, too.”
“They don’t get used as much as they could,” said Meagan Statz, assistant director of the Ruth Culver Community Library in Prairie du Sac.
Both libraries also offer a few sets of binoculars just to use inside the warmth of library while looking outside the windows.
Statz said the large windows and river front view the Ruth Culver library has provides a great opportunity for people to use the library’s in-house binoculars, which people can use to look out the library’s many windows. The Sauk City Library also provides a set of binoculars for inside use, and also has a good view of the river’s tree line.
The libraries both have group bird-watching kits and individual packs; many donated by Bird City while others have been donated from a group through Sauk Prairie High School.
The group kits come with a set of six binoculars, field guide books, bird guide books, a map and a clipboard “for people who like to take notes while bird watching,” Judd said.
Statz said the individual kits have both an adult-sized and youth-sized pair of binoculars, along with directions, guides and a map. The kits are free and available to individuals with a current library card.
Barzen said she renews both villages’ status as an official Bird City annually, as both communities remain eligible based on their efforts to make Sauk City and Prairie du Sac bird-friendly places.
“Being so close to the river, both libraries are close to good bird watching opportunities,” Barzen said. “Now with the addition of the Great Sauk State Trail, those opportunities are even better.”