Northern Parula - Photo Earl Harrison

This year marked my first ever visit to Magee Marsh, and I loved every second of it! The wet weather didn’t dampen my mood one bit while I watched tiny, immaculate warblers land so near to me that I could have reached out and touched them. I saw many dazzling birds, but a few of my favorite finds were a Canada Warbler, a Northern Parula, and a Blackpoll Warbler. The bold and beautiful birds even impressed my mom, who is not a birder, and she asked me to give her a little lesson about warblers over Mother’s Day brunch. I especially enjoyed walking the boardwalk with fellow young birders, and I’m thankful to my friends from OYBC, Anna, Caitlyn, and Adrianna, who happily showed me the ropes. What a pleasure to be surrounded by teens who appreciate birds as much as I do!

Along with the excellent birding, the Biggest Week in American Birding provided many learning opportunities. I attended Kenn Kaufmann’s Flycatcher workshop, where he de-mystified the Epidonax family. Ashli Gorbet explained the different waves of migration in her keynote speech. And the members of OYBC got some in-the-field experience with Steve N. G. Howell, who warned us never to dismiss a bird as “just a cowbird.” I’m so glad I was able to connect with and learn from birders of all ages. Thank you to all the dedicated adults who work hard to pass on the birding legacy to us, and to the parents who support our weird hobby. I can’t wait for next year!