Mary Prowell, January 2020 eBirder of the Month

By Team eBird February 9, 2020

Jan 2020 eBirder of the Month, Mary Prowell

Please join us in congratulating Mary Prowell of Mount Airy, Maryland, winner of the January 2020 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Mary’s name was drawn randomly from 3,165 eBirders who submitted at least 1 eligible checklist in December, 2019 and completed the eBird Essentials Course. Mary will receive a new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binocular for her eBirding efforts. Here’s Mary’s birding story:

I have been bird watching since 1970, when I was lucky enough to both live near the Texas coast and also be in the company of birders much better than I who helped me get started. Since then I’ve taken trips to some great places to bird watch—Big Bend, the Chiricauhas, California, Colorado, Texas valley, Gaspe Peninsula in Canada, Florida—well, all over the country. I guess my US birding list is around 500 birds but many I saw with other birders, so can’t say I could have ID’d them all on my own.

Winter Wren by Mary Prowell/Macaulay Library.

I put bird watching somewhat on the back burner for many years, although on any trips that I took, my binoculars went with me. Now I am partially retired and have time to spend many more days on trails looking and listening for birds. Since I often walk the same trail I usually know where my Winter Wrens are hanging out in the winter and the Worm-eating Warblers are nesting in the summer.

I try and do an eBird list where ever I bird whether in my own back yard, on a trip with the local Maryland birding club, or my occasional travels around the country. I have started taking pictures and hope to do more, uploading some to eBird. I also try and record songs from time to time and upload them as well.

Although I would bird watch with or without eBird I like the idea of contributing to science and maybe in some way helping to preserve birds by sending in my species sightings and numbers.

I have taken some of the Cornell Lab Bird Academy courses which are helpful and appreciated. Thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird and for continually making it easier for me to report my sightings and to Carl Zeiss Sports Optics for supporting eBird.