Birder's Guide

MAY 2016

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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9 May 2016 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community "but there are no 'junk' birds here. These are not your typical bird walks." With the help of two local birders, Ju- lie Brophy and Amber Burnette, Simso Dean launched Burroughs Birding Club in 2015, which now has a couple dozen members—all fourth- and ffth-graders. They mix things up with art projects, owl pellet dissections, ID contests, migration hopscotch, Bird Bingo, and other fun ac - tivities. This is serious sidewalk science: The kids contribute to eBird, participate in Project FeederWatch and Celebrate Urban Birds, and learn about bird con- servation. "Habitats need to be protected as we do our homes because [birds] need to have shelters to grow properly," says ffth-grader Peter Nguyen. "I love to look at them and hear them sing. Birds make my life more meaningful." Meanwhile, Simso Dean keeps things fun. "Mostly we just get them outside where they discover that nature is way more fun than an Xbox," she says. "After a long day in class, it works best if any learning happens spontaneously. A pile of feathers sparks a conversation about predators, feathered and furred. A downed monarch butterfy leads into a talk about planting milkweed." Several organizations have pitched in to help provide the students with binoc - ulars, feld guides, notebooks, and other materials, and the program quickly ex - panded to two sessions each fall, winter, and spring. Kids' families have gotten into it, too, with a new appreciation for their feath - ered friends. One family came across a Great Blue Heron trapped in fshing line and rescued it. Another adopted a Purple Martin house. Through this young bird - ers' club, interest in birds is spreading through the community. "We ourselves may not be able to change the world," says Simso Dean, "but we all can inspire some kids who may go on to change it." Mya-Rose Craig: Spotlight on an Oil Spill ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– On December 9, 2014, a cargo ship col- lided in heavy fog with the oil tanker Southern Star VII, anchored along the Shela River in Bangladesh. As the tanker sank, more than 92,000 gallons of oil spilled into the surrounding area— the world's largest mangrove forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Sundarbans. The spill was an ecological catastrophe, and the local government in Bangladesh admitted it had little capac - ity to clean it up. A 12-year-old birder named Mya- Rose Craig, who lives in the U.K. and is known as "birdgirl" for her various bird - ing achievements at a young age (she is now 13 with a life list above 4,000 spe - cies), heard about the spill and felt it hit particularly close to home. Craig is half Bangladeshi and was planning to visit the Sundarbans in February. She realized that the oil spill was getting little cov - erage in western media and decided to help spread the word. Noah Strycker Creswell, Oregon noah.strycker@gmail.com Above: Some enthusiastic members of Burroughs Birding Club: Peyton Knock-Swanson, Peter Nguyen, Alex Calvillo, Eddy Day, Thea Dean, Tessa Sander, Anders Peik, Elly Ruch, and Ellery Dean. Photo © Amy Simso Dean Left: Burroughs Birding Club members Lucy Cullen and Ellery Dean check out a monarch butterfy at close range . Photo © Amy Simso Dean

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