November 24, 2017
For the second season in a row, Cornell Lab and our sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited are rewarding registered FeederWatchers with BirdSpotter prizes. After entering bird counts (aka data) into the FeederWatch website, participants have the opportunity to share a story, memory, or tip. Our first Data Entry contest prompt asked:
Birders often have a “spark” bird, the one that sparked their interest and sent them on a quest to learn more. What bird lit your fire?
Congratulations to Catherine Darling of San Luis Obispo, California. This is Catherine’s first season of FeederWatch and a thirsty chickadee ignited her interest in not only birding, but wildlife conservation.
When I arrived to California in late September 2016, the state was having record drought conditions. I turned on an outdoor faucet, and a Chestnut-backed Chickadee landed about four feet from me and started chattering in an alarmed fashion. I was charmed, but immediately realized that it wanted water. I filled a plant saucer with water and it started drinking and calling. Birds began falling out of a large California pepper tree. I remember Oak Titmice, California Scrub-Jays, House Finches, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. There were also many bees that came to drink. That little chickadee sparked the realization that I could help our wildlife. One year later, my yard has nine feeders, one pond with a waterfall, and a shallow birdbath.
We received nearly 400 submissions to the first round of the Data Entry contest. Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their stories. Keep the conversation going and add your spark bird story to the comments. Interested in becoming a FeederWatcher? Join the fun and you could win great prizes!