"Never take any moment outside for granted"
Jason's interest with birds started as he spent time rehabbing sick and injured birds for Wildlife Rescue. He went on to help out at a local bird banding station, where meeting other young birders cemented his interest and helped deepen his understanding of the natural world. One day the azure blue of a Western Bluebird perched on his bird bath demanded his attention. He had never before seen such pretty colors on a wild bird. Now Jason says the subtle blue on female bluebirds may even be more amazing than their flashier male counterparts. (Better turn your field glasses back to the birds folks and check that one out!) He then placed a bird house in his yard, which was quickly occupied by nesting bluebirds and ever since he's been doing research on various species of cavity nesting birds.
Recently I caught up with Jason over dinner at his house, where strange noises came from the multitude of cardboard boxes on his kitchen table. The commotion proves he is still involved with bird rehab, with the boxes containing a couple owls, a baby swallow, and other feathered patients ready for delivery to the wildlife hospital tomorrow.
What's the strangest experience you've had while birding?
Trying to see a Glaucous Gull at a dump in El Paso. They didn't want us in there. We tried bribing the guy with a $20 bill in an empty subway plastic bag. [He refused] He said there were no birds there but there were gulls flying right behind him when he said that.
What makes your experience as a birder different from everyone else? What talents or qualities are unique to you?
Birding by ear is hands-down my favorite way to do it- that's the most challenging and the most fun. I'm definitely not super competitive, that's definitely a good thing for my birding. Everything's just enjoyable. As long as I'm looking at a bird I'm happy.
What advice would you give to young birders or someone who is new to birding?
Just get outside and do it. It's amazing how discouraging it is at first. Getting out there, looking at the birds every day- it's like meeting new people. you don't know them very well the second you look at them- so you have to interact and get to know these birds.
Never take any moment outside for granted.
Amazing! Therapeutic. Definitely mentally recharging. And for me... a life saver in a lot of ways. I think that's the biggest thing. It came to me in a part of my life that I needed it to, and it saved my life.
What a great week! From Alaska to New Mexico, I drove from Chicago to Albuquerque, across the American Heartland. No new birds until today, but quality time with quality people is worth the trade off. As July is now upon us, I'm very close to my goal of 700 birds for the year- and am figuring out how to raise the bar in multiple areas of The Birding Project. I've had 1,300 miles of road to think about it, and am excited to reveal some new changes in the coming weeks. For now, I'm in New Mexico at a friend's wedding and will spend some family/friends time before venturing out to bird more. Thanks to all of you that have supported me along the way recently, and I'm looking forward to getting some of my photos and writing from Alaska published. (And Maine) ((And before that)) This year is flying by.
Thanks for following my adventure. I'm grateful for everyone who has supported me and continues to encourage me in my "dream year". It's not just birding, it's bigger. And I love it.