Please join us in congratulating Judy Groskind of Carterville, IL, winner of the February 2015 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic. Our February winner was drawn from among those who submitted at least 20 complete checklists from a single patch in the month of February. Judy entered 24 complete checklists, and her name was drawn randomly from the over 600 eBirders who achieved the patch checklist threshold. Judy will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for her eBirding efforts. Her first response when notified that she had won was: “I’m so thrilled to win the binoculars. (The eyecup on mine is held on with duct tape, as I couldn’t bear to be without them for long enough to send them for repair.)” May these new ones serve you well, Judy! We asked Judy to tell us a little more about herself, her use of eBird, and her love of birds – see below!
It wasn’t hard to enter the Patch list challenge, as Patches are a fun way to focus outings on specific areas, and organize bird lists of small habitat sites under larger area headings. And I’m thrilled to win the Zeiss binoculars!
I live in a wonderful birding area in the southern tip of Illinois. Crab Orchard NWR, Cypress Creek NWR, the floodplains of the Middle Mississippi River and the Shawnee Forest are all within 40 miles of my home. With so many great and varied habitats, 8 of my patches and most of my birding is local. I’m being generous to call myself an intermediate-level birder, as I’ve only been birding for two years, but eBird is a great resource for birders at all levels and I was lucky to discover it early in the learning process. BirdLog makes logging entries in the field an easy process, and the eBird generated list of likely birds for the area is great, accenting the sightings needing extra vigilant ID (okay — I groan at those yellow flaggings, but they really help). The articles and “Explore Data” sections of the eBird site are also great learning tools.
Thank you to all the experienced birders who help beginners learn. A special thanks to all the eBird volunteer reviewers. They helped me so many times early on, sending emails to question whether I saw a specific field mark or had considered an alternate ID (perhaps they weren’t as happy that I found eBird as a beginner; but they never showed it.) With your help, an Ornithology class, and lots of birding; I’m now able to start passing a love of birding (and eBirding) on to others. I work as a volunteer at Crab Orchard Refuge. I lead monthly birding hikes, do waterfowl surveys, monitor Barn Owl boxes, and present programs to schoolchildren. What a joyful way to spend retirement!
To have a chance at the March eBirder of the Month, check out the current challenge!