Leticia Cruz Paredes, April eBirder of the Month

By Team eBird 21 May 2024
April eBirder of the Month, Leticia Cruz Paredes
April eBirder of the Month, Leticia Cruz Paredes

Please join us in congratulating Leticia Cruz Paredes of Veracruz, México—winner of the April 2024 eBird Challenge, sponsored by ZEISS. Leticia’s name was drawn randomly from the 4,212 eBirders who submitted 20 or more eligible checklists from one location in April. Leticia will receive a new ZEISS SFL 8×40 binocular for her eBirding efforts. Thank you to everyone who participated in the April eBirder Challenge, we are grateful for your support and continued dedication to data collection and conservation. Here’s Leticia’s birding story:

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle © Leticia Cruz Paredes

I feel greatly honored to have been selected as the eBirder of the Month!

I began observing birds just after I finished college in 1997 as part as my undergraduate thesis research. Although my professional interests veered to other areas of biology for more than a decade, I always loved birds. In 2001, I began volunteering on the weekends at the raptor banding station of the Veracruz River of Raptors Project. In 2003, I was one of the founders of the first birding club of my home state, Veracruz, the Club de Observadores de Aves de Xalapa. At this point, I also had to focus more on motherhood, but working with nature and birding in my free time gave me the opportunity to raise a beautiful daughter who also loves nature and is now focusing on raptor biology.

Blue Gray Tanager © Leticia Cruz Paredes

In 2011, I began working full time as a raptor bander in the falls and joined other birding projects when I had the opportunity. Then, in 2019, I came to Arizona to work with the magnificent Bald Eagles nesting in the state, protecting their nests and educating people on the value of respecting birds and their habitats. It is a fulfilling job that I continue to do to this day.

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl © Leticia Cruz Paredes

For most of my time as a birder, I have been simply enjoying the opportunity to be in contact with nature, observing the beauty of birds and their amazing behaviors. For a long time, my husband, an ornithologist, birder, and birding guide, tried to convince me to at least keep a life list. When I finally joined the wonderful community of eBird a few years ago, I discovered the joy of tracking of all my outings and sightings. I also appreciate eBird tools that can be used to locate new birds and birding hotspots, and enjoy identifying birds and their songs with the Merlin app. Lastly, I value making contributions to science. Now, I never miss the opportunity to start an eBird list whenever I am outside and spread word about how awesome the app is.

White-crowned Sparrow © Leticia Cruz Paredes

I truly want to thank eBird, ZEISS and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for selecting me as the winner of this month’s challenge. Also, thanks to my husband, Eduardo Martinez Leyva, for always helping me to improve my birding skills and for convincing me to join eBird. He is so jealous right now! 🙂