The dust has begun to settle after all our special events since reopening Northwest Branch nearly six months ago. After all the great publicity about having David Sibley here for the dedication of the Clif Moss Nature Education Center, I have a new responsibility to add to my job description - tour guide.

Anyone that knows me knows I can talk non-stop for an hour about the library. Needless to say I can go on forever talking about how our enlargement and new design came into being.

The new programs we are having on birding are very interesting and offer a wonderful opportunity for families to explore nature together.

Now that spring has sprung and we can enjoy being outdoors, take advantage of these pleasant days. Plant some seeds or young plants before it gets too hot.

Two weekends ago after making my regular trek to the beauty shop and grocery store, I found I just did not want to stay indoors and work on a quilt.

Instead I went down CR 624 to check out a nursery. I came away with a new (to me) type of honey-suckle and another large butterfly friendly plant. I also bought a few smaller plants and a metal stand for hanging hummingbird feeders.

I went home, planted them and then decided I just had to get a bird bath and new hummingbird feeders. Well, I left the store with a concrete bird bath, 40 pounds of potting soil, 30 pounds of kitty litter, a finch feeder, thistle seed and a sixpack of marigolds.

I have a few squirrels I regularly feed and enjoy watching, but I wanted to see more hummingbirds. I was anxious to tell Jo Creglow, our in-house birding enthusiast, about all I had done to encourage birds and butterflies to my yard.

She quickly told me I'd missed the finches, they had come and gone. Oh well, I'll be better prepared next migration. So far no hummingbirds, but I have a nice view when they do discover the feeders.

We have had three birdhouses that my brother-in-law gave us the past two Christmases: they finally got hung. I've been saving all my slivers of fabric, thread and batting with the idea of putting them on a wreath or something similar so the birds can retrieve them for nesting materials.

I have read that hair from brushes, animal fur, little twigs and ribbons can also be used. Of course, these need to be cut down to a size that birds can easily carry.

If these activities interest you, we have books to further help you. Whether it's working to improve your South Texas lawn or garden, building birdhouses, creating a butterfly friendly garden or just sitting back and enjoying some DVDs of The Best of Nature, The Secret of Life on Earth, Eyewitness Planet or The Best of Nature, you can enjoy learning more about nature. These DVDs, videos and books are available in the Clif Moss Nature Education Center.

The birding program for March 22 at 2 p.m. will be Identifying Hawks. Bob Creglow will be the presenter.

Lynda Whitton is the head librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.