Birder's Guide

AUG 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 23 of 35

22 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | August 2018 Black-backed Oriole was to inform the local police. I took my old Peterson Field Guide to Mexican Birds to the Lower Heidelberg Township Police Station and met with the chief de- tective, who was fortunately just coming in the door when I arrived. I explained the situation and told him that we ex- pected many visitors. He thanked me very much for letting them know and then asked about the bird, so I showed him the picture in the book. Every non- birder I talked to was curious about what this special bird looked like, so having my Mexican field guide in hand was helpful. When I arrived back at Indiana Avenue, I found several local birders who already had the address plus some of the people who had been waiting to hear from me. Some of them had even already seen and photographed the bird. That was when we all met Tom Binder, who lives at 21 Indiana Avenue, for the first time. Tom had come outside in the cold to see what all these people were doing on his sidewalk. Tom and his wife, Linda, like and feed birds, but they had no idea how immersed they After a few days, I realized it was getting hard for me to keep updating all of the birding groups with the details of when and where the bird was being seen, so I decided to crowdsource the job and give the bird his own Facebook group (tinyurl. com/BBOriole) and encourage people to put their observations up themselves. To do this, the group needed a name and I decided on "B.B.", which seemed appro - priately descriptive and short. Over time, I met many of the other neighbors. They were all friendly and interested in hearing about the bird. We got to recognize and say hi to all of the regular dog walkers and joggers in the area. Fortunately, it wasn't lawn- mowing season, so only once or twice did people working in their yards keep B.B. from coming in to feed. We always gave the locals a chance to look through our scopes so they could see what all the excitement was about. Neighborhood resident Tom Binder may have been B.B.'s biggest fan. Over the next two months, he would an- nounce the time of the bird's arrival in B.B.'s Facebook group every morning. He really enjoyed the visiting birders. He and Linda also provided hot coffee on cold days, and snacks and even hot dogs on a few busy weekend days. They were always very friendly and didn't seem to mind people standing in their driveway all day long. Tom couldn't bear to have someone miss the bird, so he often host- ed birders in his sunroom, which had a view of his otherwise-obstructed feeder. While Tom and Linda Binder welcomed the visitors and shared the view from their driveway, Susan and Dick Hybki, who don't go outside much in the win - ter, still enjoyed watching the birders from their living room. Even though they lived across the street from each other, the Hybkis and Binders didn't know each other, but now, thanks to a stray oriole, they have become friends. On 11 February 2017, Susan Hybki posted in B.B.'s Facebook group: "The weekenders. They started again at 8 a.m. this morning and will be there on and off 'til about 4 o'clock. The neighbors were going to be in the world of birding for the next few months! They quickly became the most welcoming rare-bird hosts I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Having the Binders' driveway available allowed 50 or more people at a time to get a good view of B.B. (short for Black- backed), as we nicknamed the bird. Among the birders I was glad to see was Holly Merker, Pennsylvania's eBird review coordinator. I had planned to call her to set up an eBird hotspot for the stakeout, but she was ahead of me and just wanted to know what rules or visiting hours I wanted to include as part of the hotspot's name. In the end, the hotspot got 649 checklists with 66 species of birds. Frank and Barb Haas were also there, and a visitor logbook was set up at Barb Haas's suggestion with a notebook she provided. A donation can was put out to collect money for The Nature Conservancy and local conservation organizations. Over $2,000 was raised and split equally among The Nature Conservancy, Berks Nature, and the Baird Ornithological Club. n A view from the other side. Susan Hybki shared this view from her front window on B.B.'s Facebook group. On this cold weekday, about two dozen bundled-up birders were waiting and staring into her backyard. Photo © Susan Hybki

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