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 51 of 59

50 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2016 S recent study of 7,505 high school students ( found that simply discussing the issue of sexism had a measurable positive effect on the prob- lem by making people aware that it existed. Fortuitously, Birder's Guide had just asked a variety of birders to share their thoughts about women in birding! Here, they refect on prog- ress so far—and what we birders can do to promote more female leadership in the birding community. You can join the conversation at Shanin Abreu Bloomington, Illinois Birders, male and female, appreciate details and nuances. Being aware of birds tends to lead to noticing bird behaviors, diets, habitats, threats, abundance, or scarcity. The ability to appreciate how small details can impact a larger picture becomes easier when you start paying attention. It's the same when it comes to being aware of how sexism affects women in general and female birders in particular. Male allies, especially those well known in the community, can take a leadership role in combating sexist behavior by acknowl - edging that it exists and by actively calling it out and confronting it when they see it. The seemingly benign act of a mentor pass- ing by a woman to ask a man "Seeing any- thing today?" sends a small but potentially escalating message to the woman and any young people around that a woman prob- ably doesn't have anything important to say. The same can be said of interactions on so- cial media platforms. Beginning birders of all ages look up to those more knowledgeable, and by observing their mentors, beginners learn not only about bird identifcation, but A Female Forward Female Leadership in the Birding Community: Thoughts on Moving Forward also about whom we deem to be qualifed leaders. As birding becomes more popu- lar, mentors who show newcomers that our community is egalitarian will help to set a standard that ultimately affects how women are viewed and treated, even out- side the birding community. A Facebook group, World Girl Birders, has recently emerged and amassed more than 1,800 users supporting female bird- ers. That so many are interested in sup- porting female birders reinforces my belief that progress has been made in the past few years that I have been birding, and it gives me hope for the future. Elsa Alvear Rodríguez Miami, Florida When I frst started birding, I had female role models and mentors in the Miami birding community. Three highly respected women—Michelle Davis, Robin Diaz, and Liz Golden—run the Cape Florida Banding Station, where I occasionally volunteer. Robin is also our county eBird Coordinator and a Christmas Bird Count (CBC) compil- er. Several years ago, she did me the great honor of asking me to be a CBC team lead- er for Anhinga Trail in Everglades National

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