Monday, August 20, 2007

Birding Meme!

David tagged me with this meme. I'm a sucker for a meme.

1. What is the coolest bird you have seen from your home?
I've only been feeding birds here in "condo-land" for a year or so. We get mostly the usual yard birds, but I did have a Swainson's Thrush singing outside our window this spring.

2. If you compose lists of bird species seen, what is your favorite list and why?
I keep an overall world list and an ABA list. I like them both equally, but I'd say that right now I'm a little more into my ABA list since I just hit 500 ABA birds.

3. What sparked your interest in birds?
Our family took trips to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge when I was a kid thanks to my dad's interest in birds. We would search for red-tails, kestrels, and other birds. I distinctly remember seeing a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Red-headed Woodpecker too. We also frequently visited the Raptor Trust to see the hawks, eagles, and owls there. I lost interest until a chance encounter with a raptor catching some prey about 20 feet away from me while in college. That moment stuck with me. After graduating and watching some feeder birds in my parents' yard, I decided to go out with my binoculars back to the Great Swamp. I met some people from NJ Audubon and my life was changed!

4. If you could only bird in one place for the rest of your life where would it be and why?
I would have no problem birding at Sandy Hook for the rest of my life. It has great habitat, a huge amount of species, interesting breeding birds, it's a migration trap, and there's a lot of property to explore. You also never know what is going to turn up. The place is beautiful and also has many butterflies, dragonflies, and wildflowers to keep me interested.

5. Do you have a jinx bird? What is it and why is it jinxed?
Cape May Warbler - Granted, I've never made an effort to seek one out on its breeding territory, but I've tried to see them so many times in migration and failed. Last year, there were 4 seen in one day at Garret Mountain. I went the next morning and didn't see one. That's been the story with them. I know they're not regularly seen in Cape May, but the fact that "Cape May" is in the name of the bird hurts a little too as a NJ birder.

6. Who is your favorite birder? and why?
Not sure I get this question, do they mean someone famous? If so, Roger Tory Peterson by far. He was a phenomenal field birder, an artist, a writer, an innovator, a conservationist, a world traveller, and a photographer. That's the total package right there. I wish I had discovered birding earlier so I could have met him.

7. Do you tell non-birders you are a birder?
Good question. I went through a period where I didn't tell anyone about it because I thought it might be seen as "dorky." I pretty much tell anyone nowadays when it comes up. Most people find it interesting and ask lots of questions. I do have two college friends who I don't see too often, but think wouldn't understand and it's not worth dealing with them about it.

Tag time: I've tagged the 10,000 Birds crew enough so I'll go with John, John, and Paul.


Trixie said...

As for #7, my four-year-old introduces herself as a birder. I think she likes all the field guides the best.

Patrick Belardo said...

Trixie, that is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tag Patrick. Now let's see, where did I put my brain? Oh, there it is...