Although I’ve only been on this Earth 16 years, and remember only half in clarity, I have met a lot of people. Some of them I cannot recall, not their name, nor their face, nor their acts. Some of them I have memories of only after routines of familiarity and years of acquaintance, and are remembered by necessity. Most people fall into these two categories.
Then there are the people I will remember forever, even if their appearance in my life lasted for a day, hour, second. Maybe several years will pass without a single thought about them, but suddenly; a drop of water, the way a sun ray falls at a certain angle, a familiar song, and their memory will come crashing back. Included in this curse are many birders. What is it about birders and the birding community that makes them so memorable? Maybe reviewing my own history of birding and the ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest can find part of the answer.
I was always interested in nature; one of my first real encounters with birds was when I was 5-6, when the House Sparrows outside my bedroom caught my attention. Birds would continue to be included in my general interest in nature and the outdoors; however, the task of “birding” seemed to require an insurmountable amount of hard-to-obtain knowledge and I would continue to be intimidated by the idea that I would have to know everything until I was 13 and discovered that comprehensive field guides existed. Since then, my passion for nature and birds has accelerated as I realized that the natural world is what I want to do with for the rest of my life, not medical school or veterinary work.
Perhaps this answers part of the question, of why birders are so memorable. Clearly, they are unique people. They have rejected sticking to boring hobbies or conventional careers to pursue something many people would never have the capacity to consider. The Young Birder of the Year Contest is part of that culture, and I am proud to participate in something that so epitomizes birding and helps to motivate me to continue the traditions that are necessary to its art. Although too many people to name helped me in this path, they are among the people that I will forever remember. My parents, my mentors, my young birder peers -- where would I be without them? Certainly not typing the bio to this contest right now. And for that, I am forever thankful.
Read all of my YBY submission work here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4fTR0b3JcyicnZKTENQc0FmNUU/view?usp=sharing
1. Flyover States
2. I Don’t Go Birdwatching
3. Of Birds and Men: Observations on Tree Swallows in a Man-made Environment
4. Why Can’t We Let Go of The Ivory-billed Woodpecker?
Last Page: Adult Help / Mentorship