Hi everybody, I’m Matty Hack, and I am a fifteen-year-old young birder hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I got interested in birds when I was nine years old and my brother and I watched three Red-shouldered Hawks fly over my elementary school. I dug up a Peterson guide my uncle, my first birding mentor, had given me and identified the bird. I decided I wanted to see and learn about every single bird in the book. After that, my brother and I gradually grew more and more obsessed. We started by identifying the birds that found us, transitioned to finding the birds ourselves, and finally succumbed to the world of chasing as well. Now I hope to be an ornithologist or conservationist when I grow up.
Two years ago, I became active with my local Audubon Society and got connected with the world of young birders. Realizing there were so many people who shared my interest was a revelation, and also showed me how my birding can help science. I have enjoyed taking part in citizen-participation events such as the Breeding Bird Survey, Christmas Bird Count, and eBird. In addition, I am working with a small group of young birders to form the Michigan Young Birders’ Club, and I will be a student board member of it. I am in the field as much as possible, and enjoy photographing, drawing, and writing about birds, as well. Birding has led to improvement in all of these categories for me.
While most of my birding has been in and around southeastern Michigan, I have been lucky enough to make a few essential birding pilgrimages. My favorite places I have been to are the Huachuca Mountains in southeastern Arizona, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My favorite birds are small, colorful songbirds. My absolute favorite is the Painted Bunting, as several birders I know have deduced from my insistence on using the same Painted Bunting journal for lists and sketches, year after year.
I am extremely excited to become a part of The Eyrie. I have been reading it since its early days, and it has been great watching it become the premier young birding blog. I look forward to editing and writing for The Eyrie in the years to come!