Date: 6/23/18 1:30 pm From: Kai Frueh <kaifrueh2...> Subject: [obol] Re: How should Oregon birders organize?
I think this is a great question. I am 15 and have been birding for about 4
years. I don't feel I can speak that well for older people, but I have some
thoughts about younger birders.
As a young birder I would like to see more young people birding. I know of
16 young birders in Oregon, though there are probably a few more that are
"hiding". In Oregon that means that roughly 1/35,000 youth bird! That is a
really small percent. I would like to see more outreach to younger people.
I know there are bird camps for youth, but they don't seem to draw youth
into the birding community. What Julia said I think is very common, I think
there is quite a bit of interest in birds among youth, but they don't know
where to turn. Quite often, they don't know any birders, and most
organizations target older people, which discourages some youth. I would
like to see a young birder club get started, with field trips for youth.
I don't use any social media, but I know that most youth these days do, so
maybe having some presence there would be effective.
I have started an online email group for Oregon young birders under 20. If
you know of a young birder in Oregon that would be interested in joining or
are interested in starting a young birders club, please let me know.
As for OBOL and Oregon birds (OB) magazine, I love both! I don't see
anything replacing OBOL, and I love the people on it. I always look forward
to getting OB, I really like that it is printed, because I prefer to read
printed stuff over stuff online. That saying, I wonder if there would be a
way to get an online subscription, if more people would read it. Also, some
have mentioned that we young folk don't care as much about the magazine. I
know at least 5 out of the 16 young birders in Oregon, write for the field
notes, plus a number of them have written other articles as well (including
myself). I think having the magazine published 4 times a year might be
asking for to much, because getting the magazines out twice a year seems
As for conservation, I would agree that conservation should be a major
priority, though I am not sure if OBA wants to take that role. I think of
it as a place for birders to connect. I would argue that connecting birders
to each other as well as getting people into birding helps conservation. I
know that the young birders I have gotten to know, about 3/4 of them went
into conservation or bird related carriers. I love using eBird and I think
it's great resource for conservation. I do get that not everyone likes
using eBird, and that is totally fine. I see that there are some things
that are not perfect, but the people at eBird are working hard to improve
it. eBird is big data, and I think it will help us to better understand and
help birds in the future. I think that more of bird conservation in the
future will be done on line. As I write, eBird has had 29,595,140 complete
checklist submitted into its data base, which is amazing in my opinion.
Anyway, those are my thoughts, and in case you are wondering why I knew the
numbers of young birders, it's because I have written an article about how
we can encourage more youth to bird to be published in the fall issue of
Oregon Birds, plus there will be more young birder interviews of some up
and coming ornithologists!
On Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 11:03 AM, Alan Contreras <acontrer56...>
> Brodie, not-yet-elderly birder, this is a very helpful post, thank you.
> I think most of the older birders I know would arrange for binoculars for
> a ten-year-old who was unable to get his or her own, provided we knew of
> the need. As far as I’m concerned this is, or should be, our cultural
> norm. I trust that the kid you mention now has binocs via someone in
> Portland Audubon. If not, please let me know.
> I started birding at age 11, son of a recently-divorced mother who was
> going through bankruptcy at the time. Money for binoculars was not easy to
> come by. The Eugene birding community made sure that I got connected and
> could get out birding and nature took its course.
> Thank you to those who took me birding in the late 1960s and early 1970s
> and are still with us including Al Prigge, Larry McQueen, Eva Schultz, Herb
> Wisner, Pat Patterson, Thelma Greenfield and anyone I forgot. Four of
> those early supporters are now in their 90s and still enjoying birds when
> they can. Whether I turned out all right is for y’all to decide. :-)
> By the way, my brother John somehow kept my first binoculars, which he
> ended up with as I got others. He gave them back to me last year - the
> year he attended his first CBC since the 1970s. Just for fun I’ll include
> a pic of my 1967 Tascos with my Peterson Guide of the same era (taped back
> together the first time by Norma Tedd, librarian at Roosevelt Junior High
> in Eugene). Both were all but magical tools at the time; they are now
> retired. Me, not quite.
> Alan Contreras
> Eugene, Oregon
> On Jun 23, 2018, at 10:16 AM, Brodie Cass Talbott <
> <brodiecasstalbott...> wrote:
> When I moved back to Portland after six years of mostly living and birding
> in Asia, I was amazed by the birding community here, particularly on OBOL.
> There are few places in the world with a community of people as
> knowledgeable about their local birds as OBOL, and willing to openly and
> freely share that knowledge to boot.
> But when I think about why and how Oregon birders should organize, I
> immediately think of Julia's email, where she very very diplomatically
> explains that the old school style of organizing didn't feel overly
> welcoming to her and her son. I also think of another young woman who, in a
> recent podcast, described feeling like there was "gatekeeping" among some
> of the Oregon birding old guard. I disagreed with the idea that any of that
> was intentional, but can understand the sentiment that the community does
> not always feel open to all. I also think of a 10 year old African American
> boy I met recently who was carrying around a copy of the Crossley guide to
> Raptors. He was really excited about birding, but he didn't have
> binoculars, or anyone in his immediate circles that was a birder, and much
> of what he knew, and who he knew, was coming from online (Portland Audubon
> summer camps, thankfully, were one of the resources he found).
> If OBA wants to appeal to the next generation of birders, it needs to be
> where they are: online. And if OBA wants to do so in a socially responsible
> way, they need to make extra effort to reach out and be available to
> communities of color and underserved communities, which have historically
> been very underrepresented in birding.
> I understand the romance of the printed word, but if the New York Times
> can't keep print alive (they are replacing print readers-and advertisers-
> with digital subscriptions every day), it is folly to assume that a birding
> organization can. People want dynamic media, where with the stroke of a key
> you can share a story, google a person, email the author, and comment on an
> Which isn't to say that there isn't a lot of value to what OBA does, or
> can do. OBA can maintain those state records, but in a way that is dyamic
> and intuitively available to younger users. If they don't, eBird will
> increasingly be the List of Record. OBA can continue to organize field
> trips and provide venues for sightings, but only if it puts that
> information online and on social platforms that younger eyes are already
> seeing: facebook, instagram, snapchat (GASP) and Meetup (EGAD!). OBA can
> also build community by systematically creating regional birding portals on
> online platforms like facebook so that, if a birder wants to know what is
> going on in a region they live in or are soon to visit, they need only
> visit that portal.
> And yes, hopefully OBA can also help some of the older generation who
> aren't tech savvy by having tutorials and workshops.
> I don't want to seem dismissive of Paul's points, which obviously come
> from a passion for Oregon birding and knowledge of its history that I can't
> come close to competing with, but I feel pretty certain that any birding
> organization is either going to meet young birders where they are, or be
> left in the dust.
> Good Birding,
> Brodie, a not-quite-young and not-quite-old birder.