One of the great things about birding Ding Darling NWR in Sanibel, FL is seeing cool birds and meeting cool birders. Today we did both.
We met members of the Audubon Young Birders Club from Collier County Audubon Society.
Martha Kriek, on the right, a 3rd grade teacher who encouraged lots of the kids learn about birds, said these children are the ones who will take care of these birds in the future. What an important concept! It is so critical that we teach kids to understand, love and respect birds now, since they are the conservationists of tomorrow. We applaud adults who are involved with this.
Don with another birder we met today, Gayle Sheets of the Caloosa Bird Club, who is involved with Lee County Bird Patrol (birdpatrol.org). That is an organization in which volunteer birders routinely census birds on Lee County parks and "Conservation 20/20" properties and turn their findings in to the managers of those properties. These volunteers are "dedicated to protect, monitor, observe and educate the public regarding the contribution that birds make to the delicate balance of the ecosystems" in those properties. What a great idea and model for other bird clubs!
Don with Gayle and Harold looking out over the tower pond at Ding Darling, then Don spotted the Short-tailed Hawk. I was thrilled it came right over our heads and I had my cameras ready. The Short-tailed Hawk is a rare finding on Sanibel. This hawk is found in FL and from central Mexico to Panama. It occurs in two color morphs. This bird I photographed is the light morph, and is white below. The dark morph is blackish-brown above and below with barred tail and flight feathers.