Four listeners share why BirdNote is important to them. Whether you are a new listener, a web visitor, or already a donor, your support is very important to us. We depend upon people like you. Help us to spread the message of bird conservation in 2013.
16-year-old BirdNote Listener, Nathan Goldberg
I became interested in birds when I was 13 years old. A family member gave me a Sibley guide and told me about a local bird walk. After the first walk, I met an older birder who encouraged my interests, and I began to bird with him every week.
I knew that there were a lot of young birders in Illinois, but it’s hard to connect with people my age who are into birding. That’s why I helped create the Illinois Young Birders club (ILYB), and I helped it get off the ground by recruiting other young people. Many ILYB members have had to teach themselves, but now they can share pictures and have people correct their IDs, as well as meet people their age. I’ve also used Facebook to connect with other young birders my age. There are other good sites such as The Eyrie at the American Birding Association and Jocotoco Wanderings, a group within Facebook. If people don’t know anyone in their area to go birding with, it’s easy to find someone through one of these sites.
This past summer, I joined other young birders at a Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT) summer camp, this year in the Pacific Northwest, in Washington State. This was my third trip on a VENT summer camp. I like the experience of being with kids my age. It’s like high school, except you can be yourself, and be with kids who have the same quirky passionate concern for birds. It’s really fun to socialize with kids my age and younger, and to share my passion and the knowledge that I have soaked up like a sponge. Now, I want to essentially squeeze that knowledge from the sponge over all of them.
A year ago, I thought it would be cool to be in a BirdNote story. And now I have been! You can hear my story, All Fired up about Birds.
I hope you'll join me in supporting BirdNote. Your gift will help inspire more young birders like me to become connected.
Nathan Goldberg is 16 and lives in Chicago. He is a founding member of Illinois Young Birders. When he’s not birding, he’s hanging out with his friends, or engaged in his other passion, collecting vinyl figures from Kidrobot.
BirdNote Listener and Volunteer, Colene McKee
Everything I love learning about and doing involves nature. At home, I love to garden and watch visitors at our birdfeeders. I also love to hike, kayak, and go birding, and I often take my grandson for a walk in the park or to the zoo.
When we travel, we always include time to see wildlife. My husband and I recently took our son and his wife to Botswana, Africa for a camping safari. We saw so many animals up close, from elephants to birds, many that were new to us. It was wonderful to see that so much of that wild place is still intact. To be a visitor in Africa is to be dropped into a completely new environment, where you may sometimes feel like prey. It gives you a feeling of appreciation and awe that is far outside our usual human experience.
I came back from Africa with a desire to keep learning and try to preserve places here. I appreciate our national parks and wildlife refuges more, and I even see my little back yard with new eyes and renewed interest. I’ve found that the more places I travel to, the more I’m interested in learning about ecosystems and the creatures that call them home.
This is what BirdNote does so well. In two enjoyable minutes, you might travel somewhere exotic or gain a nugget of knowledge about something in your own back yard. And it’s fun! That’s why I’m so turned on to BirdNote. Join me in making a gift so BirdNote can take us on more journeys in 2013.
Colene McKee is retired from the University of Washington Department of Education and enjoys spending her time traveling, enjoying the outdoors, and volunteering for BirdNote.
Jennifer Jolliffe, BirdNote Listener
Several years ago while listening to BirdNote, my boyfriend started a morning ritual of shouting out “BirdNote!” when the familiar theme song begins. His enthusiasm and the spirit of competition were contagious. This race to call “BirdNote” spread to include his coworker and, eventually, me. Now, whenever any of the three of us are together and the program starts up, we’ll yell “BirdNote!” hoping against hope that we’re the first to get the words out. We have a lot of fun with this silly game and really enjoy listening to the program. Thus, it seemed only fitting that when we recently bought a used but sturdy, ocean-worthy boat, we would rechristen her “BirdNote”!
Of course, even before the game was invented and our boat was named, BirdNote had been a favorite of ours. When the show features a species that has made an appearance in our lives, we are reminded of both the ordinary events that mark the passage of one season into the next and also the extraordinary ones, which leave a lasting, lifetime impression. In the spring, spotting the returning geese and Sandhill Cranes means we can put away our skis and dust off the bikes. Summer finds us out on “BirdNote," fishing in Prince William Sound or Resurrection Bay, where flocks of kittiwakes number in the thousands and Tufted Puffins will swim by, almost within reach.
Fall is marked by migrating Trumpeter Swans and hikes in the mountains, where the ptarmigan are turning from brown to white. And then it’s back around to winter, with the ever-present ravens and magpies keeping us company as we shovel, ski, and skate or thrill at the sight of a flock of waxwings swooping from one tree to the next.
Listening to BirdNote every morning gives us a lot more joy than you’d expect to get in a typical two-minute time span. With each episode, we learn something new about birds and bird behavior, we get the brief adrenaline rush of possibly being the first to shout “BirdNote", and we are reminded of our wonderful boat. Perhaps most importantly, BirdNote helps us to keep alive memories of past adventures and to anticipate those to come.
Please join us in supporting BirdNote. With your contribution, BirdNote will connect more listeners to nature in 2013.
Jennifer works as an acupuncturist in Anchorage. She also enjoys skiing, hiking, berry-picking, and dipnetting for salmon on the Copper River. Andy works as a gunsmith in Anchorage. He also enjoys skiing, fishing, biking, and photography.
Judy Bunnell, BirdNote Listener
I am a loyal listener of WAMU, a public radio station in DC, and I've recently become enchanted with BirdNote!
I live in urban DC, and sometimes I feel that the pace of this city and its focus on people and events draw me away from nature just when I need nature the most. I do not think I am the only one in DC who feels this way.
Since I moved to DC in 2005, I have tried to find ways to ground myself in nature. I live near the C & O Canal and walk my dog along its banks as often as possible. We have surprised turtles, snakes, and even a fox on our walks. These wonderful surprises help me to stop my mind’s chattering about what I need to do and what I should be doing, and to stand still and watch nature at work. A moment of standing perfectly still and watching nature intently puts everything else in perspective.
I have also been lucky enough to see the silent and stately herons as I proceed on these walks. They freeze in the dusk or dawn, poised to take off but not flinching until I am very close. It becomes a game with me, how close I can walk before they quietly glide away.
When I cannot go for a walk, I can sit out back in my tiny but pleasant urban yard. Even when it is cold and dreary, the birds visit my yard and take me back to nature. I can sit outside in the crisp air or look through my window and watch cardinals, sparrows, Blue Jays, and finches, fussing at my birdfeeder and birdbath. I am not a sophisticated “birder,” but I recognize the birds that visit daily and can get lost in their little vignettes.
Listening to BirdNote reminds me to find those moments in nature that help ground me. The pace and tone of BirdNote take me away from the jarring intensity of local, national, and international news and provide a moment for reflection.
Join me in supporting BirdNote so that more listeners can connect with nature.
Judy Bunnell lives in Washington, DC. When she is not working, walking, or watching for birds, she listens to NPR!