Each year the American Birding Association honors young birders from all over the country with the coveted „ABA Young Birder of the Year“ awards. This year, the winners were Marky Mutchler of Liberty, Missouri and Dessi Sieburth of Montrose, California. These and the other young birders competed in an intense year-long competition that might seem difficult even by adult birding standards! Both of the winners were awarded brand new Leica Trinovid binoculars that they can use for future birding endeavors. Below is a note from winner Dessi Sieburth about his experience in this competition.
I’m Dessi Sieburth from Montrose, California, and I’m twelve years old. I won the ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest this year. I chose the conservation and field notebook module. The most fun module for me was bird conservation. The most fun part of the conservation module was when I did a Big Photo Day, when I went out to photograph as many species as possible in a single day. I turned the Big Photo Day into a fundraiser to save bird habitat in Cottonwood Canyon in Pasadena, California. I got sponsors from Pasadena Audubon Society members per bird photographed. I did my Big Photo Day in the Antelope Valley, CA, and photographed 84 species of birds. I raised $235 to help save Cottonwood Canyon from housing development. This conservation project was really fun because I could go birding all day and combine two things I really like: photography and conservation.
All in all, the ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest was really fun and I learned a lot from it. I learned that there are many ways to help birds, and even small conservation projects can make a big difference. The field notebook module taught me more about bird identification, and I learned more about bird plumage and their behaviors, as sketching forces you to look at small details. I am looking forward to get my Leica binoculars.
– Dessi Sieburth
Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us, Dessi, and congratulations on raising money to save Cottonwood Canyon! We look forward to seeing more of you in the future!
To learn more about the 2015 ABA and the Young Birder of the Year Competition, visit this link. For more information on the 2016 Young Birder Competition that kicks off on April 15th (a week from today!), click here.