Did you have a spark bird that got you started birding?

I was four years old. It was a Scarlet Tanager. My parents used to have a picnic on Memorial Day, in one of Cleveland's metro parks. I was sitting there at a picnic table, I can remember I was really little and a male Scarlet Tanager landed just above me, maybe 3 feet- which almost never happens. I don't think I'd ever seen anything prettier in my life. 

In 2003, I visited Principia Upper School in St. Louis Missouri. I was in Middle School and was enthralled with birds. My first stop was at the Science classroom, where I met Mr. Larimer. The following year I enrolled in the Upper School, and took a "beginning birdwatching" enrichment class in the afternoons. It was mostly upperclassman girls in pink flip flops, hoping our bird walks would pass Starbucks on the way back to school. On one of those walks I saw my first Eurasian Tree Sparrow. 

Preston continued to be a birding mentor for me for the remainder of my high school years at Principia. We birded together on campus, and in Belize on a Biology Abroad my Junior year. Now he is a fly fishing guide in Colorado's Arkansas River Valley. He continues to bird on the river, and clients specifically request Preston due to his extensive knowledge of the natural history surrounding the river. Drop by ArkAnglers and his wife's gallery if you're in Buena Vista!