Andrew Sensening, assistant biology professor at Tabor College, has a passion for birds. He is transferring that passion to his students in his ornithology class.
At 6:30 a.m. Aug. 28, Sensening and his students went to property of Charlotte Takahashi 4 miles from Hillsboro to bird watch. According to Sensening, birds are more active at dusk and dawn.
They observed nuthatches, flickers, thrashers, hummingbirds, robins, cardinals, and a family of indigo buntings.
“One bunting chick, which wasn’t a good flyer, landed on the ground in front of us,” Sensening said. “We were able to pick up the chick, examine it then let it go back to its family.”
Thursday the class trekked across the street to the pond behind the historical museum to view a family of redheaded woodpeckers living in a dead tree.
“They’re beautiful birds,” he said.
This is Sensening’s first semester to teach ornithology at Tabor. He has been teaching at Tabor for three years.
“I’m planning on taking the class out at least once a week,” he said.
Sensening plans to take trips to the reservoir, local field and river systems, and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. He said he encourages the public to join the class on some of their expeditions.
“I’ll post details on our Tabor College natural science page, https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/Tabor.Science,” he said.
Sensening got his love of birds from his time in Africa as a child where his parents were missionaries.
“During that six years I was exposed to lots of colorful birds and wanted to know more about them and how they live,” he said.
Since then Sensening has been studying birds of all shapes and sizes though birding for 10 years, and studying with professional birders. He keeps track of all the birds he sees.
“Anytime you have the chance to teach what your hobby is, it’s a great thing,” he said.
While the ornithology class is only offered every two years, Sensening and other local and student bird enthusiasts will continue birding as part of the colleges’ bio club.