For several years now the ABA has sent four young birders to participate in the World Series of Birding in New Jersey. Working as a team, these young birders set out to find as many species as possible in twenty-four hours. We call this period of intense, wild birding a Big Day. Why, you ask? Is there a cash prize? Actually, the rewards come from being around other young birders, participating in friendly competition, and getting to know the birdlife of a certain area in a short amount of time. We hope to follow this year's Tropicbirds team with an update on their progress, so be sure to check The Eyrie May 9 to cheer on the 2009 Tropicbirds team!
This year's particpants are…
Ted Stiritz–Four years ago, I was sucked into birding while camping in the Colorado Rockies and haven't been able to stop since. As many people know, mountain birds can be quite intoxicating. Besides birding, I like backpacking and biking–two activities that seem to inevitably involve birding. Last year's Tropicbirds experience was a high in my birding career and I am very excited to be going again.
Corey Husic—I am 14 years old and have been interested in birds since age 2, but really started birding around 6 or 7. I live in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, a great place for birding. I regularly lead bird walks at nearby parks and refuges and have been conducting a bird survey at a local wildlife refuge for the past three years. Besides birding, I am really interested in butterflies, wildflowers, and photography. In addition to outdoor activities, I play Celtic fiddle and run cross-country for my school. I look forward to being part of the Tropicbirds this year!
Spencer Hardy–I am 14 years old, and live in Vermont where I do most of my birding. I have always been fascinated by birds since watching rose-breasted grosbeaks from my high chair (so I am told), and really don’t ever stop birding. I find myself particularly adept at getting birds on interstate highways, including a Fox Sparrow recently. During the past couple summers I have been fortunate in being able to attend VENT camps, in Texas and Yosemite, and enjoyed meeting other young birders. I participated in the 2006 WSB with a youth team from Vermont, so am really looking forward to returning with the ABA/Leica Tropicbirds team this spring. My prediction for the last bird at the 2009 WSB is a Virginia Rail and I predict that a Mississippi Kite will be the most exciting bird we see. When not wearing binoculars, I also enjoy cross-country ski racing, running competitively, biking and being outdoors.
John Garrett–I’ve been fascinated by the wondrous scenes, sounds, and odors of nature all my life, and I first became interested in birding at the age of eight. Since then, I’ve also become interested in butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and just about all other organisms, but my primary focus has always remained on the avian world. I’ve participated in a few big days in southern California, but this will be my first time competing in the World Series of Birding, so I’m very thrilled. Few things besides birds please me more, except maybe the prospect of twenty-four consecutive hours in a van surrounded by competitive sweaty teenage birders, so being on the Tropicbirds team is especially great.