Q: What can birding teach us about being a good citizen and environmental steward?
A: It can teach us all so much. Many people are blown away by what’s actually there once they start exploring. Learning about the environment and the ecosystems that are right in our own backyards, connecting with “place” in a gentle and curious way creates a deep appreciation for nature. Birding is a great opportunity to disconnect from devices and reconnect with the world around you.
With birding you learn about the interactions of native species with their environment. At The Tyler Place, birds play a role in keeping the grounds and gardens healthy. We also talk about how invasive species can really be detrimental to the natural bird habitat.
Q: What winter projects are you working on?
A: Birding is a year-round activity, so I still get outside and into the woods even when it’s snowy. I get a bunch of questions on Facebook and Twitter from curious bird enthusiasts. Back in 2013 I was getting a lot of questions and comments about crows staging and roosting in various spots around Vermont. All of this interest led to the creation of the Crows in Vermont project on iNaturalist, which is essentially an on-going research project tracking Vermont crows. Crows in Vermont gave Vermonters an online community and platform to track their observations, share photos, and discuss ideas. There are waves of interest every winter when this behavior picks back up.
I also host Birds & Brews meetups for casual, informal birding banter. It’s nice to get out in the community and connect with people about a shared interest. Birds really are a great connector, everyone has a bird story!