Birder's Guide

MAY 2017

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 13 of 51

12 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2017 Conservation Milestones species came out of a genuine passion for improving the lives of local people. The organization's "human" programs include teaching organic agriculture, provid - ing microloans to artisans, distributing eyeglasses, access to clean water, proper trash disposal, and an art festival. AlTo has education programs in every one of Tompotika's more than 100 schools. For more information about AlTo, and to donate, visit Bailey Eichhorn: Second-Grade Birders ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Bailey Eichhorn of Lexington, South Caro- lina, started birding at the age of four— before he actually knew what birding was. Now in the seventh grade, he's spreading the pleasures of birding to second-grade kids. For his entry in the ABA's Conserva- tion/Community Leadership module of the 2017 ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest, Eichhorn taught 16 second grad- ers at Joseph Keels Elementary School about birds. Eichhorn won first place in the module and was named one of the two overall Young Birders of the Year in the 11- to 13-year-old age group. "One of my goals," he says, "was to in- clude and educate young kids, who are not often exposed to the birding commu- nity, about the joys of birds and birding." With the guidance and support of the school principal, Alvera Butler, and sci- ence teacher Mitchell Bailey, Eichhorn cre- ated three days of science lessons to teach children the basic biology of birds, how to go birding, and how to identify some com- mon South Carolina bird species: Carolina Wren, Osprey, Northern Cardinal, North- ern Mockingbird, and Red-bellied Wood- pecker. The second graders got a chance to use their new knowledge during two outdoor bird walks and were especially excited to see an Osprey soaring overhead. "I had a wonderful time teaching these children and exposing them to something that will enrich their lives and enjoyment of the outdoors," Eichhorn says. "I have a feel - ing that they might all grow to be birders!" The project also had a positive impact on Eichhorn, both as a birder and as a teacher. The kids, he says, "were an inspi - ration for me to continue to share my pas- sion with others." Delta Wind Birds: Migratory Shorebird Support ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– In the Mississippi Delta, migrating shore- birds have more places to stop, eat, and rest on their journey, thanks to an innovative program operated by Delta Wind Birds. Through its Habitat Incentive Program, Delta Wind Birds works with catfish farm- ers and sporting groups on repurposed catfish farms to maintain their off-season ponds as stopover habitat for shorebird migration. Catfish ponds can be drawn down temporarily to create mudflats around the edges, and abandoned ponds can be flooded with shallow water. "In 2016, we contracted with two differ- ent private landowners, providing approxi- mately 100 acres of high-quality habitat for fall migratory shorebirds in Humphreys County, Mississippi," says Delta Wind Birds Board member Jason Hoeksema. "This habitat was used by upwards of 9,000 migratory shorebirds, plus hundreds of wading birds, including herons, egrets, Wood Storks, and Roseate Spoonbills." The Habitat Incentive Program is an outgrowth of the successful Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative funded by Congress for a limited time to provide migratory bird habitat after the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in 2010. Delta Wind Birds is a small non-profit group in northern Mississippi with a big mission: to assist declining bird popula- tions, prevent decline of common spe- cies, and integrate bird conservation into broader conservation efforts in the region. The group also promotes birding and eco- tourism in the mid-South, particularly in the Delta, with workshops, presentations, and field trips. The group's work is financed by Straw- berry Plains Audubon Center, a grant from Patagonia, a gift from the Memphis chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, and many individual contributors across Mississippi, Tennessee, and sur- rounding states. With engaging classroom presentations and outdoor bird walks, Bailey Eichhorn helped spark an inter- est in birds among these second graders. In the process, he was inspired, too. Photo © Mitchell Bailey Long-billed Dowitchers are among the bird spe- cies benefitting from the Delta Wind Birds Habitat Incentive Program in Mississippi. Photo © J. R. Rigby

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