By Guest Blogger Niza Contreras
of the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA, and through the work of caring for baby songbirds, injured raptors, and recovering seabirds, I began to recognize different species. It started with the first Black-Eyed Junco I identified outside my house in San Francisco. Seeing a bird and being able to give it a name was an incredible feeling. And I wanted to learn more.
I have always had a soft spot for raptors, and I enjoy spotting them perched on telephone poles or soaring in the sky. Through SFBBO’s Diurnal Raptor ID Workshop, and with Alvaro incredible knowledge of birds, I have gained a deeper appreciation for the complexity of raptor species. Not only do I know the morphological differences between a Cooper’s and Sharp-Shinned Hawk (although I need more practice before I can successful identify either), but I also understand how juvenal hawks can be different from adults, and males from females, within the same species.
As a scientist, and a detail-loving individual, I found this workshop a perfect balance between specific, intricate bird features and key takeaways for identifying a specific species. I am excited to get to the point in my birding journey where I can remember all of the details without checking my notes, but in the meantime, I have Alvaro’s tip and tricks to help me along.
I am so grateful for everyone who donated to the scholarship fund that allowed me to participate in this raptor workshop. And of course, thank you to Alvaro and Sirena for leading and organizing the classes over Zoom. It is wonderful to learn from people who love what they’re teaching, and I look forward to sharing more meaningful experiences with the SFBBO community!
Niza Contreras (she/her) is a recent graduate from Stanford University with a B.S. in Earth Systems, interested in pursing marine conservation and resource management.
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