Joan Grant, August eBirder of the Month

By Team eBird 8 Sep 2023
Joan Grant, August 2023 eBirder of the Month

Please join us in congratulating Joan Grant of Colorado Springs, CO—winner of the August 2023 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Joan’s name was drawn randomly from the 6,341 eBirders who submitted at least 30 eligible checklists with eBird Mobile in August. Joan will receive a new ZEISS SFL 8×40 binocular for her eBirding efforts. Here’s Joan’s birding story:

I am truly excited to have been drawn as the winner of August, 2023 eBird challenge, what an honor. Thank you to Zeiss and Cornell for offering such incentives!

My husband, Tim, and I have been birding for three years with COVID as a motivator to find rejuvenation in the outdoors. Our first tiptoe into the birding world was on a local hike where we became fascinated watching the nesting Great Horned Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, Bullock’s Orioles and Violet-green Swallows. A friend introduced us to eBird so we learned how recording our visits to these nesting sites could add to Cornell Lab’s database helping to understand the state of birds worldwide.

Black-throated Sparrow © Joan Grant / Macaulay Library

With the flame ignited, we used eBird to start exploring local hot spots. Every bird was new to us thus Merlin Bird ID became an essential tool. Its photo ID gave us “oh wow” moments and a way to learn our local birds. We then stumbled on other eBird options such as daily or hourly notifications of needs alerts. By this time we reached our first 100 species and were eager to find more. Daily notifications changed to hourly so our Zeiss binoculars, camera and car keys were ready at a moment’s notice.

Black-throated Blue Warbler © Joan Grant / Macaulay Library

Our first 100 Colorado birds ended up moving to 200 then 300. We decided to push to reach the “Colorado Fourteeners/400 species of Birds Club.” We had both climbed all of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks now we needed to sight 400 species to join. Success came in November of 2022 when we added a Black Scoter to make 400. Goal reached thanks to eBird’s assistance and that of friends!

What a great way to spend our golden years, birding!

Northern Harrier © Joan Grant / Macaulay Library