Please join us in congratulating David Lang of Georgetown, Kentucky, winner of the October 2018 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. David’s name was drawn randomly from 4,805 eBirders who submitted at least 3 eligible eBird checklists on October Big Day. David will receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular for his eBirding efforts. Here’s David’s birding story:
I have always loved nature and had the affliction of having to put names to things. It started with flowers. Then I met my wife, who happened to be a bird watcher and that got me started. We put up backyard feeders and took our binoculars along on our hikes and trips. Then we took our first international trip dedicated birding to Trinidad & Tobago which got us hooked on tropical birding. Soon we were taking other trips around the world to get our birding fix.
I eventually got more involved in the local birding community in my area and started leading walks. It is fun to share birding with other equally minded people and to help newer birders improve their skills and find new species. I remember asking one of the more experienced members in our club to help me find my first Swainson’s Warbler. Eventually I was able to pay back that effort by heading back to the same spot and helping others to find their first as well. The chain continues as I have learned that they have in turn gone back to the same spot to help others.
I had been using one of the available listing tools to keep up with my sightings and my lists and was pretty happy with it until support for it disappeared. At that point I looked into other options and decided on eBird as the best alternative and have been using it ever since. I love the fact that my sightings now help with bird conservation. I also utilize much of the other functionality such as the alerts to keep with rare birds and birds I still need for Kentucky, the ability to find hot spots in areas I am unfamiliar with and the birds that have been reported there. I have just recently started using the Explore Species tool. It is wonderful for pursing species. I was also thrilled to have some of my photos included for some of the species.
A group of us participated in the October Big Day by putting together a team to cover our local county to see if we could come up with a higher species count in a friendly competition with another county. We used eBird to keep all of our lists and used the October Big Day listing for our county under Explore Regions to see what we still needed to track down. A wonderful tool that helped us stay on track and win our competition.