*John is one of the new Student Blog Editors for The Eyrie.

JohnJohn Shamgochian

I am John Shamgochian, a 12-year-old unschooled, vegetarian, birding-maniac (or, as my brother is quick to point out, just a maniac) from East Providence, Rhode Island. I was initially inspired by my bird-obsessed grandfather, who bought me my first pair of binoculars when I was eight. I am the oldest of four children and have two younger sisters and a younger brother (who is also a birding nut), as well as an 11-month-old German Shepherd-ish mutt (with an impressive life list of 53 birds, including Northern Goshawk and Barred Owl!)

I love shorebirds, which I find in the muddy local marshes and sandy beaches of Rhode Island. My favorite species is Red-necked Phalarope, which I have seen only once, just after Hurricane Irene blew past this year. 

As I write this biography, I am also frantically finishing my third Young Birder of the Year Contest, wrapping up seven months of drawing, painting, and long hours of writing and squabbling over disputable IDs with my younger brother.

When not birding, I am usually found listening to The Beatles while obsessively submitting hourly lists to eBird and writing my blog (http://johnsbirdingblog.blogspot.com/). When outside (and not birding) I am either playing soccer with my team, "The LemonHeads," or running in the woods with my family, a pen clenched between my teeth and a tiny notebook in hand trying to make a decent list while keeping up with the group. I have long since abandoned running with binoculars due to excessive bruising.

Among the millions of places that I beg daily to be taken, my very favorite birding spots include: "The Meadows" in Cape May, Plum Island in Ipswich Massachusetts, Monomoy in Chatham, Massachusetts , and Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island (which, luckily, is only a seven-minute drive from my house). 

When I grow up I aspire to have my own motorized vehicle so that I can actually try to get every rarity reported on the Rhode Island list serve and be a fabulously successful international bird tour leader, which, from my point of view, is the ultimate profession.