by: L.E. Baskow, Spring ushers in excellent bike-commuting weather, and workshops offered by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance make it even easier.

Pay a visit to the birds, and identify them, too

Maybe it's not the best day to bring a turkey sandwich, but consider spending your lunch hour with a Jackson Bottom naturalist who will offer tips on identifying the waterfowl and other birds nesting in Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve.

Spotting scopes, binoculars and field guides are provided.

Birders should meet at the north viewing shelter next to the Clean Water Services treatment plant on Oregon Highway 219.

Noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, 2600 S.W. Hillsboro Highway, Hillsboro, free, 503-681-6278

Slides, songs offer more clues for sky watchers

No, it's not a re-enactment of that scary Alfred Hitchcock movie.

It's just spring, and the migratory birds are back. Learn to tell the swallows from the sparrows at this bird identification class, which offers a crash course in spring migrants and summer breeders.

Metro naturalist James Davis promises to help beginners discern the warblers from the hooters and will show slides, play recordings of bird songs and offer plenty of advice.

7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, Metro Regional Center, 600 N.E. Grand Ave., Room 370, suitable for adults and teens, $10 fee required in advance, call 503-797-1715 to register

Get in gear, and start spinning toward summer

With the days getting longer and the skies getting (theoretically) less rainy, it's time to consider bike commuting. It's an easy and immediate way to benefit the environment as well as your pocketbook -it won't hurt your thighs, either.

Next week, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance holds the first of about 30 bike commute workshops planned for the year.

They'll cover the difference between necessary and nice-to-have bike gear, basic bike laws, safety precautions, what to do in case of trouble (i.e., a flat), tips for riding in traffic and route advice.

Attendees will get free maps, and more will be available for purchase. Workshop leaders will help would-be bike commuters plan their routes.

For the schedule of workshops, go to

6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, BTA, 1979 S.W. Fifth Ave., 503-655-8631, free

Learn the games people and animals play

Kids love to play hide-and-seek, and at the four-week series of outdoor adventures Preschool Hide and Seek they can learn how animals play it, too - though for furry and feathered creatures the stakes can be a bit higher.

The hourlong sessions will cover predator-prey relationships, camouflage techniques and how animals use their senses to survive.

The program's geared toward children ages 3 to 6 with an adult.

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 10-May 1, Tryon Creek State Park Nature Center, 11321 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd., $30, preregistration required, 503-636-4398

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