A walk in the woods reveals numerous varieties at Yale’s West Campus

  • Campus residents at the West Campus barn
    Campus residents at the West Campus barn
  • A bird has been spotted!
    A bird has been spotted!
  • Complete focus at West Campus
    Complete focus at West Campus
  • Looking to the trees for signs
    Looking to the trees for signs
  • Pointing up spring mirgrants beside the Oyster River
    Pointing up spring mirgrants beside the Oyster River
  • A walk in the West Campus woods
    A walk in the West Campus woods
  • Experts on hand for bird ID
    Experts on hand for bird ID
  • Binocular guidance before the off
    Binocular guidance before the off
  • An expectant crowd ready to walk the trails
    An expectant crowd ready to walk the trails
  • Spring bird walk 2022
    Spring bird walk 2022
  • Catching up over breakfast
    Catching up over breakfast
  • Breakfast is served at the West Campus Barn
    Breakfast is served at the West Campus Barn
  • An Osprey is added to the species count
    An Osprey is added to the species count
  • Essential and best footwear on display!
    Essential and best footwear on display!
  • Time to catch up
    Time to catch up
  • What was the species count?
    What was the species count?

The West Campus community braved biting wind and spring chills last week as they took to the campus nature trails en masse. Colleagues representing faculty, students and staff from numerous units and disciplines mustered at the Conference Center before following resident bird experts Mark Aronson, Thomas Parlapiano, Cody Limber, Kristof Zyskowski, and Severin Uebbing on a guided walk. With binoculars and guidebooks to hand, happy participants pointed hither and yon at spring migrants as well as hawks and a few dozen other campus visitors on the way to the West Campus Barn, where breakfast conversations flitted between different sightings and the wider benefits of the day’s gathering.

 “What a unique way to break down barriers!” enthused a colleague discovering the campus trails and our much-admired wooden barn for the first time. That was plus one for a new introduction to the campus landscape, and a sentiment appreciated by the event’s organizers.

This and other gatherings are being supported by campus groups keen to pool different ideas towards a common aim: to help us get to know our campus neighbors. Sometimes as overlooked as our subterranean nature trails, this simpe idea was seeded by members of the West Campus’ Anti-Racism Working Group in recognition of the continuous and broad connetions needed to propel our shared work.

Spending a bright spring morning with colleagues from seemingly every part of campus – from our institutes, cores, museums, schools, clinical providers, facilities and administrative units, and from current employees and visiting  alumni – provided welcome cheer for neighbors old and new, with the promise of more to come.

The instinct to bring the campus together is shared by the YWC Student & Postdoc Committee, who are busily collecting your votes for the sort of gatherings you’d like to see. Next up is Gardening Talk at Yale West Campus and a community breakfast, May 16 at 9am, when grad students and staff will share their passions for horticulture!

To pool your idea for a community event at YWC, send your suggestions to jon.atherton@yale.edu or Jessica.criscuolo@yale.edu The YWC Anti-Racism Working Group is open to everyone at West Campus. Vist the Group’s webpage for more information. 

And for the serious birders among us, the final stats from the morning walk were: travelled 1.46 miles over 89 Minutes, 28 taxa observed, including 3 Mourning Dove, 3 Ring-billed Gull, 1 Herring Gull, 1 Turkey Vulture, 1 Osprey, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker, 1 Blue Jay, 1 Common Raven, 2 Tufted Titmouse, 2 Barn Swallow, 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 1 Carolina Wren, 1 Gray Catbird, 10 American Robin, 4 American Goldfinch, 1 Chipping Sparrow, 2 White-throated Sparrow, 2 Song Sparrow, 1 Swamp Sparrow, 1 Red-winged Blackbird, 1 Brown-headed Cowbird, 1 Common Grackle, 1 Black-and-white Warbler, 1 Yellow Warbler, 1 Palm Warbler, 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 2 Northern Cardinal, around 50 great colleagues, and endless inspiring conversations!

Pictures and words by Jon Atherton