A great way to promote bird conservation is to celebrate and encourage the future generation of great birders. What better way to discuss young birders than by finding out what they personally think and feel? In this Whoâ€™s Who we interviewed a young birder and wanted to share his story with you.
Non-birders often think of Nebraska as a state you drive through to get to “better” states. But in the birding world, we know better. The state holds numerous hotspots for birding. Nebraska Tim is a couple states west of us in, you got it, Nebraska! He is the second young birder that we’ve had the honor of interviewing.
Here is our interview, along with some of his fantastic photos!
1. What age were you when you started birding? What is your current age?
It is difficult to say what exact age I was when I started birding, but when I was about 10 years old, I became seriously passionate about all things bird-related. I am 13 years old now.
2. How did you get started in birding?
I have always been interested in nature and animals, and when I was about 8 years old, I became very interested in botany, especially trees. I was purchasing a guide to trees, and I randomly decided to get the Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Birds, too. I dug out my Dad’s “ancient” binoculars, which I quickly decided would not do. So, I bought some enormous Bushnell 16×56 porro-prisms, thinking that magnification was all that mattered. With my new binoculars and field guide, I began to casually observe the common bird species around my house. After 5 years of many optic and field guide updates, and many learning experiences, here I am today!
3. What is your favorite bird?
The American Crow is my first favorite. They are so handsome and intelligent, and you can find them just about anywhere. My second favorite is American Dipper. I had the amazing experience of observing their unique, peculiar habits quite up close in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
4. How often do you go birding?
I’m always birding! Hehe, well, in general, I make a day or half-day long birding trip every weekend, whether it be on my property, at the nearby water treatment lagoons, a few counties away, or on the other side of the state. When the days are longer, I bird around my property in the evenings, and take walks around the county roads.
5. Who do you go birding with?
I usually go birding solitary, but I’m always happy to bird with other birders, or non-birders for that matter (as long as they aren’t too loud!)
6. Is there a bird club in your area and are you a member?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. However, another local birder and I are attempting to organize a non-credit community college class on basic birding to attract people who might be interested in learning basic birding skills and techniques. If the class goes well, then we can “transfer” the interested people over into the brand new independent club, which will hopefully hold weekly classes involving many field trips.
Young Northern Flicker
7. Do you have a lifelist and if so, how many are on it?
Yes, I do keep a lifelist. The most current count is 219, with a much overdue Canvasback being my latest lifer.
8. Do your family or friends also enjoy birding?
Surprisingly, among my 11 family members there isn’t a single birder, though they are all always very enthusiastic about my birding obsession. Most of my friends are young birders from around the globe who I have met online on bird forums, groups, and the like. I also have many local and not-so-local adult birder friends who are, of course, very enthusiastic.
Fledgling House Sparrow
9. Is the environmental field (including birding) part of your future career goal?
Definitely! My main goal is to get a degree in Biology or Zoology, centered on Ornithology. From there I hope to get a job as a preservationist of bird study skins, mounts, nests, and eggs for a university or museum. I also hope to have a side job as a bird tour guide, which opens up the opportunity to educate birders and public alike on the importance of bird, habitat, and environmental conservation. I am heading that direction as fast as I can by taking community college courses. Currently I have 11 science credits.
10. Do you photograph birds or aspire to?
I’m afraid that “aspire” best describes my current photographic situation. I previously used a point-and-shoot camera with a powerful zoom, but as of lately, the quality has lessened (to say the least). I’m currently saving up for a new and improved DSLR setup, so that I can continue with my ornithological photographic activities.
11. How would you get other young people interested in birding?
I plan to make an emphasis on the fact that any age of person, especially young people, can become a birder and attend the educational club meetings and field trips of the birding club I plan to create this Fall (see answer to question 6). At the nature center where I volunteer, I plan to continue educating the many different kinds of visitors, of which include many young people, about birds, birding, bird conservation, and the like.
All photos in this post were taken by Tim
Thank you Tim for sharing and if you are a young birder (or know a young birder) that would like to be interviewed, please contact us!