How did you get started birding? Did you have a mentor or a spark bird?
I started birding around 8 years old. I had spinal meningitis. In the hospital somebody brought me some bird books to look at. I was always kind of interested in birds. I don't know... it was one of those things that I never stopped! In college I got my first binoculars. I preached a sermon at my home church, and they paid me so I took that money and went down and bought a pair of binoculars with it!
Immediately after arriving in Lander, Wyoming I heard about an eBirder named Del. I'd seen his name on some eBird reports, but it wasn't until I went to a Rotary Club lunch that several people suggested that I meet up with him and go birding. And bird we did! Del picked me up in Lander, and we headed into the hills to find Black Rosy-finches, a bird that had evaded me in Colorado. He knew some of the local feeders where they had been seen after it snowed in the mountains, and following a snowstorm, the conditions were perfect! We easily located a mixed flock of finches, predominantly Blacks! Success!
Del has embraced technology and is an active eBirder. I admire his enthusiasm and excitement for birding, amidst the recovery from two broken legs. Nothing can stop him from expressing joy as he shares his love of birds for others! I am inspired and grateful to have met such a positive influence in the Wyoming birding community.
Next we drove around the Lander area, sharing birding stories that spanned the world from Wyoming to Kenya. We spotted 3 new species for my year list together: Black Rosy-finch, Chukar, and Ring-necked Pheasant.