By Guest Blogger Judith Santano
as I could. It was the best feeling in the world.
Because I discovered my interest in birds in largely academic and scientific spaces, I haven’t done much birding in the traditional sense. My bird ID, both by sight and sound, can definitely use some work. I am always trying to improve my skills by going on bird walks, reading through field guides, and using my handy Merlin app whenever I’m out in the world. But there’s truly nothing quite like learning the tips and tricks from an experienced birder. That’s why I was so thrilled to learn about Alvaro Jaramillo’s Bird Sound Workshop, and even more thrilled to be fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to be able to attend!
I feel like I learned so much through this workshop! Alvaro does a wonderful job of acknowledging how daunting it may seem to try to learn bird ID skills, and making the space feel incredibly welcoming regardless of the level that you’re at. I really appreciated how thoughtful he was with the examples he chose, and how he answered everyone’s questions. He was very committed to ensuring that he taught us the things we wanted to learn about and would be the most useful for us. One of the most useful aspects of the workshop was learning how to use spectrograms to help visualize bird calls and songs. Having a visual to go along with the audio has really helped with distinguishing calls from one another. Additionally, as an aspiring avian community ecologist, I really enjoyed learning about the ecology of bird sound.
Lastly, I am grateful to have learned tips for how to learn bird sounds. I know that I have a long way to go in my journey to become a good birder, and the skills I learned in this workshop will continue to be helpful down the road. I want to thank all of the funders for supporting scholarships to make these opportunities accessible for students like myself!
Judith Santano recently graduated from Stanford University (‘19) with a BS in Earth Systems where she focused on ecology and environmental education. She plans to begin a PhD program in Ecology with a focus in Ornithology this upcoming fall. When she’s not mesmerized by the sight and sounds of hummingbirds, she loves working out, thinking about all of the concerts she’s looking forward to in a post pandemic world, and going on hikes with friends.
Wingbeat is a blog where you can find the most recent stories about our science and outreach work. We'll also share guest posts from volunteers, donors, partners, and others in the avian science and conservation world. To be a guest writer, please fill out our Volunteer Application below.