Pat Folsom loading up one of the bird feeders at Evergreen Senior Center. Photo: Nancy Emory.

“Did you know that bird-watching stimulates memory, cognitive alertness and awareness of details? Bird-watching can also relieve stress and soothe anxiety for older adults experiencing mild to moderate cognitive challenges.” That was the word that Mad River Valley Meals On Wheels received about bird-watching from the National Meals On Wheels.


Evergreen Green Place Meals On Wheels, Waitsfield, along with local birder Pat Folsom, Waitsfield United Church of Christ and its bottles and cans ministry and the Mad Birders have created “Operation Bird Watching For Seniors!” Tom Emory made five bird feeders to go up at Evergreen (plexiglass donated by Bisbee’s), three in common areas where the seniors can sit and watch the birds or watch while passing by and two in resident’s windows. Folsom and Waitsfield UCC are donating the large format “Peterson Field Guide Eastern Bird Book” and other informational books so that the residents can identify the birds. Folsom and the Mad Birders will fill the feeders and chat with any of the seniors that have questions and counts of birds and kinds of birds that come to visit. Spencer Potter, Waitsfield, added to Operation Bird Watch by setting up a bag of Niger seed and suet pack at the house of a homebound senior. That person can watch the birds while sitting in their favorite chair or eating at the table. The Mad Birders will be able to chat with the senior about the birds that come and activities. It is possible that volunteers will be able to add to the Homebound Operation Bird Watch with other volunteers. 

"It was wonderful that Ann Day wrote a very informational column last week about the winter birds and how they survive this frozen weather in The Valley Reporter. It’s just amazing how these little fluffs can exist through our winter with our help. Please read her column. Each week for the next four weeks we hope to have information by Pat Folsom about another bird that frequents our feeders. Next week Pat will give information about the cardinal and also the news about The Great Backyard Bird Count taking place on February 18-21 and how you can participate," explained Mad River Valley Seniors spokesperson Nancy Emory.