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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Page 42 of 59

n Participants in ABA's Camp Avocet enjoy birding on the beach in Cape May, New Jersey (below), which included great views of en - dangered Piping Plovers (left). Below: Photo © Bill Schmoker Left: Photo © Tiffany Kersten visitor to their feeder sparked an interest to learn more. Or it may have been a slippery slope from the very beginning—fnding a window-stunned woodpecker or visiting in- jured hawks at a rehab center. Others were eight years old when they began, and still others were 80. Some have been birding for two years, some for two dozen years, and some for what may feel like two hundred. For me, the "spark" was a Wisconsin corn- feld packed full of thousands of spring-anx- ious, calling, and dancing Sandhill Cranes, putting on their ritual mating display. I was 12 years old, and to this day, I can recall precisely the way I felt while taking in those glorious sights and sounds: it was a harmoni- ous combination of serenity and excitement. Along with my mom in her thirties and a pla- toon of retired birders, I witnessed something that I had considered (and still now consid- er) pure magic. This trip to view the cranes was through my local nature center, which hosted a series of eight weekly evening feld trips, each to a different location. The only details I remember beyond the cranes were discussions of warbler species that were ap- parently invisible to me, and being forbid- den from attending an addendum to one of the trips—a visit to a feld where American Woodcocks were "peenting". I didn't know what that meant, but everyone else sounded pretty darned excited about it. Alas, I was in 41 May 2016 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community Mission, Texas Tiffany L. Kersten

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