A “spark bird” is the bird that helped spark a person's interest in birding. Do you have a story? Read how a particular bird or bird watching experience turned others on to birding.
Spark Bird Stories
What an odd-looking bird! The egg-like shape of the body and stick-like legs.
I was in Rio Blanco Natural Reserve in Colombia, part of a birding to preview birding locations in the Central Andres. My companions were two experienced birders, Nate Swick and Dorian Anderson, and they were excited to have the chance to see the endemic species. The local guide took us to a feeding area in the dense forest. We waiting patiently for what seemed like an eon.
That bluebird represented something very important to me, because although I was kind of sad at that moment, it really sparked my interest not only on birds, but it just made me very happy.
One day I was running in the middle of a park in Michigan. It was it was towards the end of winter, probably just the beginning of spring. I remember a blue spot following me along the trail. And then he happened to perch and I realized that it was a bluebird. And ever since that bluebird represented something very important to me, because although I was kind of sad at that moment, it really sparked my interest not only on birds, but it just made me very happy.
They were almost all white, delicate little things, unlike any I'd ever seen. They seemed unreal.
As a kid, I watched birds out the kitchen window at our little wooden feeder. Since we didn't have a "bird book" and knew almost nothing about birds, we made up our own names: wild canaries, red birds, rain crows, striped-headed spatzies, and that mysterious leaky-faucet bird. Gradually, after Mom bought a Golden guide, we put accurate names to birds, but we still knew nothing of phenomena like migration.
I’ve been looking for the Atlantic Puffin for nearly 40 years
I’ve been looking for the Atlantic Puffin for nearly 40 years. Finally, a puffin trip was offered and I saw them in Maine. It was joy to watch these little guys. I had no idea how fast they can fly. They were so tiny that I want to go back again and hope to see a few more.
All of a sudden I saw this incredible dark form come over my head
I was standing on the mountaintop with Paul and the class and I went off and looked in another direction, all of a sudden I saw this incredible dark form come over my head, and it was a Bald Eagle. Bald Eagles were rare and exciting at that time. I shouted out “Bald Eagle!” The class all came over, everybody was celebrating. And I said to myself, “Oh, this is really cool. I can do this. I want to do this for my life.” So, I said I want to become an ornithologist.
I could hardly believe my eyes - a Snowy Owl was staring back at me!
It was about 5 p.m. and I was thinking about making dinner when I went into my front room to close the venetian blinds. Through the horizontal slats I saw a large, white shape atop the condo building opposite and I could hardly believe my eyes - a Snowy Owl was staring back at me! I was thrilled to see this Life Bird I had chased for hours earlier that day.
One day my father suddenly pointed out a spectacular raspberry-colored bird and announced excitedly that it was a Purple Finch.
We had the standard yard birds in southern CT, a short list of robins, blue jays, catbirds and starlings are all I remember. But one day my father suddenly pointed out a spectacular raspberry-colored bird and announced excitedly that it was a Purple Finch. I was amazed that there were 'new' birds we could find. that was the beginning of my bird watching.
I couldn’t believe anything could be that YELLOW!
Simultaneously I couldn’t believe anything could be that YELLOW, anything that yellow could blend in with anything other than a banana stand, and that I had struggled so much to see it. I was entranced. The entrancement led to stuffing every moment of free time in the coming summer with looking at birds, reading about birds, or thinking about birds.
One day I saw two "new" birds on a branch, facing each other and doing a "dance".
When I was eight years old my father bought me the "Golden Guide" to birds, one of the classic series developed for children. I had a general interest in nature at the time and was fascinated by seashells, wildflowers, and reptiles... as well as birds. One day I saw two "new" birds on a branch, facing each other and doing a "dance".
They appeared outside my window at a difficult time, seemingly dancing with joy
Christine Beckwith Bensley
My mother was a lifelong friend and teacher in so many ways. It was not long after she passed when a female cardinal started hanging around our back window. I felt the bird wanted to show me something. And then the male cardinal appeared and the two were dancing on the porch railing, seemingly playing a game. To me they were my parents, my mom now reuniting with my dad, having fun as they often did.
A Robin in our house
The bird was a robin in Concord, seen through the eyes of my poet brother, Alec. His words brought the robin to our house one night in the fifties, and I've loved robins ever since.
I still can't see a bufflehead without thinking, "Hey, there's a bubblehead" and remembering time with my father.
The first bird I remember being able to reliably identify (besides feeder birds) was the bufflehead. My brothers and I called them "bubbleheads" which seemed to make sense to us because the male's head looks like it has a white bubble on top.