In March, we asked a group of some of our most loyal and engaged members (who participate in Audubon’s Donor Insight Panel survey) to share a conservation victory or personal experience that gave them the inspiration or strength to keep working to protect the birds we love so dearly.
Almost 350 members shared their heartening stories with us. During these trying times, we hope these anecdotes bring a smile to your face. As always, the birds will unite us all.
Here are nine of our favorites:
Orange-crowned Warbler (above)
“Hearing bird song is my connection to place and time. When I hear the first Orange-crowned Warbler of spring or see my first Mourning Dove of the year, the world feels right for at least that moment. Right and dependable and so very much bigger than mankind.”
—Margot R., Yorkville, California
“The delight in seeing birds come back year after year where I live. Our birds. It’s personal. It inspires me to do more and be consistent.”
—Eileen J-S., Eureka, California
“I just saw my first couple of American Oystercatchers in Florida, and I’m 64. I can still be in awe of nature.”
—Toni M., Asheville, North Carolina
Western Snowy Plover
“I have been involved with surveying for Western Snowy Plovers on our beaches here in southern California. A few years ago, my survey team and I found the first active nest of a Western Snowy Plover on a particular public beach here in over 25 years. I got to participate in the fledging of one bird from that nest, and to hear of him fathering and fledging two chicks of his own nearby later. It’s been a deeply emotional and positive experience for me, and I still embark on each survey with gladness and hope.”
—Bruce A., Lake Forest, California
“For eight years, our local conservation hero has pursued the goal of having kestrels nest in boxes in a nearby state park. He has designed and redesigned the boxes, locations of boxes, monitoring techniques, and every element of the project to entice kestrels to nest—without a single successful nest. Last year, the nest boxes fledged five young. He had finally arrived at the formula that worked to provide just the right combination of factors conducive to nesting. His amazing persistence and dedication is what Audubon volunteers are all about. He mostly worked alone, without remuneration, or acknowledgement except from the chapter board. This kind of volunteer action is undertaken by Audubon volunteers across the nation. I’m humbled by their dedication to the Audubon cause.”
—Joyce K., Melrose, Florida
“Personal experiences with birds in my backyard—Scrub Jays who now know me and ‘ask’ for peanuts with their noisy chatter as soon as they see me outside. Say’s Phoebes who chose to make their nest on my deck on an old speaker and keep coming back to say hello.”
—Lisa S., Castle Rock, Colorado
“Watching the spring migration of Snow Geese—thousands and thousands of them—was beautiful, breathtaking, and encouraging. One huge ‘V’ flew high over my house, so high they seemed to be just little dots in the sky, but their loud calling was unmistakable and thrilling. This morning for the first time this season, my yard was filled with birdsong, including that of arriving spring residents. This and more inspires me to keep doing everything I can on behalf of birds.”
—Jane P., Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania
“Sitting in my backyard on the east end of Long Island one sunny September afternoon last year, out of the corner of my eye I saw something large and dark soaring through the sky. As I looked up, a magnificent Bald Eagle flew above me, its wings spread wide, white head and tail feathers gleaming, yellow talons bright as the sun. My mouth dropped open and I gasped at the sight, as much from surprise as from the feeling of being almost overwhelmed at the majesty of the eagle and my good fortune of being in that place at that moment. When one considers that a bird which was almost wiped out by man’s actions and then, with the action of humans, saved from extinction, we learn that with proper steps, care, concern, and a willingness to act, we can reverse the course and outcomes for birds and other wildlife. Seeing that eagle gave me hope that if we act in concert and do the things we know must be done, that there is a brighter future for all of earth’s inhabitants.”
—Michele R., New York, New York
“Every time I see a bird, it’s a thrill.”
—Diane G., Santa Barbara, California
If you are interested in participating in our Donor Insight Panel Survey, please email Great Egret Society Manager Lindsay McNamara at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.