The sixth in a series of occasional profiles of birdwatchers who are from or spend a lot of time in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Family: Married 33 years, with two adult children, two grandchildren and a third on the way.
Lives in: Harborcreek Township.
College: Masters in Entomology from Pennsylvania State University.
Originally from: Buffalo, N.Y.
I got into birding …: I attended the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage over 30 years ago and was surrounded by families who loved and shared nature. That was back in my college days. So once I married, my husband and I shared a love of nature. This led us to join Presque Isle Audubon Society. We became active there, holding many post including both of us as past presidents. Once we bought our house we started with backyard bird feeding and identification. Our travels always involve wild life watching.
Spark birds: Puffins in breeding plumage in Maine and veery in the forest — sounds like a flute, and I remember hearing this when I was a child. Woodcocks and snipe in my yard, they are a sure sign of spring returning.
Favorite bird: Colorful birds , but bluebirds are my favorites.
Favorite places to bird in northwestern Pennsylvania: Fields off all the back roads.
Strangest time I’ve gone birding: Went to Maine on an Audubon scholarship to Hog Island, hoping to see many puffins on or near Egg Rock. Well, of course it is the Eastern Seashore and the day we went out in our little boat was a thick, pea-soup fog and only one puffin was barely seen next to the boat. But that was OK.
Rarest bird I’ve seen: For me it was the water pipit (Ouzel), in the raging Yellowstone River. Amazing little bird. Strong swimmer.
Usual birding partners: My husband Steve or friend Ruth Swaney.
Birding gear and equipment I take everywhere: My eyes and ears, and then when I am actually prepared I take my field guide and an old pair of binocs.
What I like most about birding: Being outside and when I meet new people. I like to listen to other people express their excitement over what they might have seen or are doing.
The best birdwatching day I’ve ever had: Sitting on my deck with the hummingbird feeder so close that I couldn’t even focus on the 13 young hummers buzzing around my head.
The worst birding day I’ve ever had: Every day I am inside four walls.
Best birding advice you ever got: Be quiet and look first .
Your advice to beginning birders: Start at home with the backyard feeder, get a nice book and binocs. Study the bird the best you can before using your binocs, they might fly away to soon.
Should a sighting be counted if you’ve only heard an identifiable bird call but not seen the bird itself? Sure, why not, if you’re correct in your ID.
Do you keep a life list? Kind of, I write in my book sometimes. We do record the number we have seen just from our house and it is over 50 species.
Do you approve of the idea of competitions such as a Big Year or Big Day? Yes
Previous entries in the NWPA Outdoors Birder Bio series:
No. 1: Shawn Collins
No. 2: Bonnie Ginader
No. 3: Michele Rundquist-Franz
No. 4: Lee Ann Reiners
No. 5: Julie Dell
Interested in participating in the Birder Bio profiles series? It’s easy and free. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.