Q. Where do you live?
Q. What first got you interested in birding?
Q.  What's your favorite birding spot in Oklahoma?

Introducing our November 2003
Birder of the Month:

Amy Farrell*
of Cherokee, OK
Q.  What field guide do you prefer to use?
Q.  What are your 3 favorite birds? and is/are there any particular reason(s) they're your favorites??
Q.  Tell us about your BEST birding experience.... so far.
Q.  What was your WORST??
Q.  What are you most likely to say when a bird flies before you can ID it??
Q.  What was the last book you read?
I have always been interested in nature, wild things, etc., and have always fed  the birds in my backyard.  However, I became more seriously interested in birding about 12 years ago.
We went on a trip to Alaska (when I was a non-birder), came home, and  decided to buy a trailer so we could return to Alaska and spend more time  there.  That was 12 years ago and we have never gotten back.  However, the trailer led us to go annually to south Texas in January and February.  When  you're down there, what else would you want to do with your time?  Since then I have discovered the wonders in my own area although I still love traveling to great spots.
It would have to be my backyard, with Salt Plains NWR as a close second.  We  gave up on the manicured, sprayed yard and planted bird-friendly trees, shrubs, plants, etc., and put in a water feature.  We don't live in the country, just have a backyard in town, but I am constantly amazed at the diversity of birds that now visit as regulars or accidentals:  Red Crossbill, Evening Grosbeak, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Townsend's Solitaire, American RedstartMagnolia Warbler, White-winged Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove, female Western Tanager (maybe....), etc.
National Geographic and Sibley, and when I have a challenge they all come  out.  I also keep the OK date guide book available.
My favorites change constantly.  They all have their own unique characteristics.   Mostly, the bird I am seeing at this moment is my favorite; however, I draw  the line at grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds when they terrorize my feeders,  and cowbirds.... NEVER!!!!
I've had a lot of experiences including the time when we were on the tower looking for whoopers and a group of Mountain Bluebirds was playing around the base of the tower.  However, a few other "best" experiences that come to mind are the time the 11 Evening Grosbeaks came for a drink in my backyard on the DAY of the Backyard Bird Count, and the time I was trying to photograph 9 Red Crossbills at the feeder (Jim Arterburn has me indoctrinated!).  I went outside to set up the tripod and camera with the remote shutter release and while I was arranging things, the birds came back and landed on the feeder about 8 feet away from me.  I just sat quietly and photographed while they ate.  Or the time a group from Tulsa Audubon watched a pair of eagles lock talons and tumble right above us, or when another group was looking for Burrowing Owls and a Ferruginous Hawk swooped down and grabbed a prairie dog, or when OOS got 166 species at their spring meeting in this area, or the year that 3 Whooping Cranes were on our family farm for 5 days before catching a north wind.  One evening on my way back to the Refuge, they flew right above me!  Or the time that Jim Deming e-mailed me in August to ask what birds were around the Salt Plains area.  Being a transplanted Canadian, I proceeded to tell him that I was not one to bird in Oklahoma summers.  Afterward, I thought my response had not been very friendly so I went out to look, knowing I would find nothing.  While scanning Sand Creek Bay, I did a double-take when I spotted something pink!  Imagine my amazement to find that it was a Roseate Spoonbill!! I posted to OKbirds and many birders from Oklahoma and Kansas got to see the bird in the 6 weeks it was here, thanks to Jim... and all of these experiences were in this immediate area.
Missing the positive ID on a Western Tanager in my yard while photographing a Chat.
"Please come back!"
I sometimes have more than one book going at a time but I like authors Catherine Cookson, Rosamunde Pilcher, and John Grisham.
Q.  Who are your heroes or role models?  Whom do you admire? and if you care to comment, why are they your heroes?
I don't have any specific heroes but I admire those people who give of themselves to make this world a better place.
Q. How long have you been birding?
I live in Cherokee, Oklahoma, about 6 miles from the Salt Plains NWR as the  Whooping Crane* flies.
**Don't recognize Amy's name?? You probably knew her as Anne Wilbur, and so did we.  Well, Anne/Amy married Dan Farrell in 2007, and in June 2008, she wrote to Cyndie Browning:  "My real name is Amy Joanne and it is much easier now to go by Amy than explain that the name I am called [Anne] is not my real and legal name.  I thought when I got married and moved would be the time to make the switch."  Amy, by any name, you're more than welcome here.
*The Whooping Cranes are making
their annual migration right now!!
If you'd like to learn more about the cranes and the Great Salt Plains area in general, be sure to visit the Great Salt Plains website at (what else?):