While young birders may be a small amount of the general birding population (especially noticeable if you are a young birder), they are nonetheless out there and their enthusiasm to birding and conservation is inspiring.
Here we feature a wonderful 13-yr old birder who’s self-proclaimed nickname is Empid (as you’ll see why below).
1. What age were you when you started birding? What is your current age?
Well… I have pictures of myself with field guides at age two, and have heard stories that I would throw a fit if I couldn’t see the bird feeders from the dinner table. I have checklists from age 6, so anywhere in that range. Now I am 13.
2. How did you get started in birding?
I have always (at least that I can remember) had an interest in birds, but going to Cape May with a local ornithologist really got me excited.
3. What is your favorite bird?
Tough… I really like Empidonax Flycatchers, especially Alders.
4. How often do you go birding?
Everyday! Even during school I’ll be listening for warblers through the open windows.
5. Who do you go birding with?
I often go birding with may mom and dad.
6. Is there a bird club in your area and are you a member?
Yes there is a bird club, Lehigh Valley Audubon Society and I am a member.
7. Do you have a life list and if so, how many are on it?
Yep, its a little over 410.
8. Do your family or friends also enjoy birding?
My family does, but many of my friends from school have a stereotypical image of a birder being an old lady with binoculars, so they don’t have any interest in birds at all. They don’t know what they’re missing.
9. Is the environmental field (including birding) part of your future career goal?
10. How would you get other young people interested in birding?
I try to get kids interested in birding by inviting them to come on the bird walks I lead. I write book reviews about books that involve birds and articles about birding experiences and identification. I have also taught some nest box information to a local Boy Scout group. I am the Youth Coordinator for the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society.
Thanks to Empid for answering our interview questions. We (Jennie and Eddie) of the Birdfreak Team started birding at a young age as our parents took us to various natural areas to explore. It is crucial to convince other young kids to not just be interested in birds but to pursue an active outdoor lifestyle that includes being conservationists.
Look for future young birder interviews as well as more features from young birders, including Dakota.