Watching the birds: New feeders at Lilly Library a hit

  • A woodpecker on one of the five new bird feeders at the Lilly Library. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • One of the five new bird feeders at Lilly Library attracts golden finches. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A woodpecker on one of the five new bird feeders at the Lilly Library. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Adam Novitt, director at Lilly Library, talks about the bird feeders installed on the second floor and the birds and people who come to watch them. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • One of the five new bird feeders at Lilly Library attracts golden finches. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Adam Novitt, the Lilly Library director, talks about the bird feeders installed on the second floor and the birds and people who come to watch them. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 5/24/2018 6:30:21 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A trip to a birding resort in Tobago spawned a new idea at Lilly Library in Florence, one in which patrons can gaze at birds while they peruse books.

Library director Adam Novitt installed five bird fedders outside the library’s second floor windows to provide patrons with the opportunity to see birds they may not otherwise. The idea came after his visit to Tobago.

“I like to think we are democratizing bird feeding,” said Novitt, who pointed to the high cost of buying, maintaining and refilling bird feeders.

The feeders were donated by Hadley Garden Center, Florence Hardware, and Backyard Birds, but Novitt estimates that it will cost between $600 and $1,000 annually to maintain the feeders.

The feeders, which were installed and refilled by Novitt himself, have attracted a large number of local birds including goldfinches, hairy woodpeckers, sterlings and even hummingbirds. The windows outside of which the feeders hang are covered in a film which makes the outside of the window reflective, allowing guests to get extremely close to the birds. There are a number of pamphlets and books near the windows which allow guests to identify and learn about the birds they are seeing.

Novitt said that the feeders were the first step into making the library’s campus “part of the learning experience.” He plans to start other projects to achieve this goal, including planting native plants along a pathway that leads around the library, and providing sidewalk chalk for children, to make even the pavement interactive.

Novitt said he has also begun to organize birding classes to start at the library for people who are interested. The classes will be in conjunction with Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton.

Novitt said he hopes the feeders will not only improve the educational aspect of the library, but he hopes it will impact the social dynamic of the space. Novitt said an ideal scenario for him would be to see to library guests talking and learning together about the birds.

Francie Lin of Florence said that the birds have been a topic of conversation around the area.

“I told all the people at the bus stop about them,” said Lin.

Lin also said the birds add a “meditative” nature to the library.

“It’s great,” said Lin of the birds, “you can watch them and collect your thoughts.”

Anne Heston, who works at the library, said people now come to the library simply to watch the birds.

“People used to come and check out books, but now we have people who sit down and just watch the birds.”

According to Novitt, the feeders haven’t just changed the dynamic of the library, but of the surrounding area as well. Novitt says since the feeders have been installed, he hears the sound of goldfinches every morning walking into the library.

“Every finch needs to let the world know its a finch,” said Novitt.

Take away the educational and communal impacts the feeders have, said Novitt, they still provide a place for both patrons of the library, and the birds, to relax.

“The birds come here cause they want to,” said Novitt, “People come here because they want to.”




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