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BirdBuddy in the Library

by Gabrielle Griffis on 2024-04-17T07:06:57-04:00 | 0 Comments

By: Nori Morganstein, Director of Nahant Library 

mourning dove in front of windowsBoth as the new Library Director for the Nahant Public Library and as a new resident of Nahant, MA I knew right away that Nahant was a special geographic location for birds. My husband, dog, and I take many walks together along the ocean, and we have spotted many beautiful birds here. Nahant is also home to the Mass Audubon Nahant Thicket Wildlife Sanctuary, a small but mighty home to migrating songbirds. One of the earliest projects I worked on at the library as the new Director was writing a Mass Cultural Council grant, with our Children’s Librarian, to receive funds from the Nahant Cultural Council for a Birdbuddy. 


What is a Birdbuddy? It’s a smart birdfeeder that can photograph, video, identify, and give information about the birds that visit and eat at the feeder. Whenever a bird stops by, you get notified on your phone or whatever device you set the app up on. The Birdbuddy we purchased with the funds from the grant also has a solar roof, so it requires limited maintenance and charging. Once in a while, I take our Birdbuddy inside the library to clean it off and re-fill it with birdseed. I have yet to re-charge it.  Since we wrote the grant, library patrons have been so excited about the project, we have been offered birdseed donations, help for installing the feeder, bird accessories, and opportunities in the community for free programming, and more. Families and patrons of all ages love it.  

As you can see from just a small sample of the photographs, the snapshots of the birds can be quite impressive. Sometimes the brief videos capture their personalities too. I had no idea that Mourning Doves had such blue eyes or that so many varieties of birds would share meals together. The brief facts that the BirdBuddy app shares about each bird seems almost meant for libraries too. For instance, I recently learned from the Birdbuddy app that Common Starlings “were brought to New York in the 1890s by Eugene Schieffelin and his friends, who released hundreds of birds in an attempt to introduce all the species mentioned in Shakespeare’s works.”

 pine grosbeak in front of windows

It did take almost 2 weeks for us to see bird visitors. Now, we see birds every day. If your library is interested in purchasing a Birdbuddy, I recommend purchasing a baffle to place under the feeder, to keep squirrels away. Our baffle works. We also have it placed far away from our veranda and low hanging trees, where squirrels also like to go. I spoke with someone who works with birds and birdfeeders before picking the right spot, and I’m glad I did. So far, we have not seen any squirrels. Patrons can view the feeder from the windows in the Children’s Room of the library. I post weekly photos to our social media pages and a Bird Gallery Page on our website, where I type up more of the bird information for people to learn those interesting details from the app. 

I just recently installed a monitor in the front area of the library that is running a video on loop of the photos, and some videos of the birds who have come by so far. I plan on adding to it as we get more birds. There is a livestream option as well.  Technology and programming ideas are endless. Patrons of all ages like seeing the photos of the birds, and I know the Birdbuddy will bring plenty of future intergenerational programs to the library. To start, we are participating in a virtual program about birds on April 24th, hosted by the Friends of the Ashland Public Library in partnership with a multitude of other MA public libraries called “Virtual –Author Heather Wolf Discusses ‘Find More Birds: 11 Surprising Ways to Spot Birds Wherever You Are.’ Please click here to register. 

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