By Guest Blogger Marie Cerda
time. We just knew this big, beautiful bird of prey was there and I became fascinated. She was my spark bird and she returned every winter during my time there. I began learning all I could about birds and even started a short-lived blog about the birds on the island. After that, all I wanted to do was work outside and watch birds. I went back to college for a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Natural Resource Management and Conservation.
My first job out of college was identifying dead birds for the California Department of Public Health’s West Nile Virus Dead Bird Hotline and it’s a job I’ve returned to every season since then. I love that my ability to identify birds can help keep people healthy! This year I began attending graduate school studying Fire Ecology and Management and my main area of research thus far has been looking at the benefits and dangers of fire for birds, especially in Western forests.
The ability to attend both the Waterfowl Identification workshop as well as the Bird Sound workshop on scholarship has been so helpful for my personal enrichment, my professional work, and my studies. I’m entirely self taught and through these workshops I learned so much in a way that was both accessible and enjoyable. They gave me skills that were missing before - especially in areas of understanding bird sound and how to identify birds this way and the finer points of winter waterfowl identification.
I am very grateful to all of the donors who made this possible. SFBBO’s commitment to creating an equitable landscape for birders from all races and backgrounds has made such a difference for me and I truly appreciate it.
Marie Cerda is a graduate student studying fire ecology and management with a focus on research to better understand the benefits and dangers of fire to birds.
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