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Q. Where do you live?
Q. How long have you been birding?
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I guess it has been all my life.  I can recall being fascinated with Hummingbirds when I was in the second grade.
Q. What got you interested in birding?
Q.  What's your favorite birding spot in Oklahoma?
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Introducing our June 2002
Birder of the Month:

BERLIN HECK
Broken Bow, Oklahoma
OKIE-BIRDERS
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.
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I keep the Sibley guide in my vehicle for reference in the event something bizarre shows up, but I can now identify most OK birds and do not carry a field guide when I bird on foot.  I often refer to the Nat'l Geographic guide, which is excellent except for its maps which need some work, in my opinion.  I still think the Golden Guide has some of the best artwork and maps of any, but all need updating, and drawings need more technical merit, such as the Sibley guide has.
While living on or very near the coast in Mass. and New Jersey for several years, I saw strong northeast storms come inshore, and watched the Gulls rise to easily and gracefully ride the gale-force wind, seeming in exult in its ferocity.  Since then, I have always thought that I would like to be reincarnated as a coastal Gull.  And then the book, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" appeared and I knew I was right.  For pure musical beauty, give me the haunting flute of the Wood Thrush, to which I give the highest vocal rating.  For stirring music, give me the call of a high-flying skein of Geese in fall, a sound that will stop anyone in his tracks to look, listen, and marvel.  For beauty without equal, give me "non pareil," as the French people of south Louisiana call the Painted Bunting.  The name means "without equal."
It has to be the Black Mesa area at the west end of the Panhandle because many of the birds are western and not found anywhere else in OK.  Visiting there is a great adventure, and it is an adventure to share with friends when I go.  Of course Red Slough, down here in southern McCurtain County, is another great area and has been quite a training and testing ground for my birding skills due to its huge number and diversity of birds throughout the year.  But I can bird it anytime so it has ceased to be "special."
This is a tough question.  I never really became a birder, as we know them, until I got my first job in National Wildlife Refuges at Great Meadows NWR, Concord, MA in 1970.  We also administered Monomoy MWR, a birding hotspot off the coast of Cape Cod.  In Massachusetts., I discovered very many new birds, the Mass. Audubon Society, and the Brookline Bird Club.  I met some heavyweight birders in these circles, too.  I discovered Christmas Bird Counts and got my first "real" bird during the Concord CBC:  a Black-backed Three-toed Woodpecker (now called "Black-backed Woodpecker").  Since those early days when I was an incidental birder, taking them as they came but refusing to go out of my way for a new one, the bug has now bitten deeply and I go to lengths to find new ones.
This is an easy one; it was the epic search for the Great Gray Owl.  In late September and early October, 1990, my brother and I visited Yellowstone National Park, WY, he for photography, and I for birding.  I particularly wanted to see THE BIRD, spelled "O-w-l," while he was interested primarily in photographing wildlife and the profusion of flowers blooming two years after the big fire.  There is an east/west road between Canyon and Norris in the Park, and it was lined with spires of fire-killed trees.  Several people had seen the Great Gray Owl along this road after sundown by traveling west and seeing the Owl silhouetted against the bright western sky.  So, nearly every evening, we would drive east from Yellowstone Inn, wait until the light was of the proper luminosity (like Woodcocks waiting to go to supper), and then slowly drive west.  It did not work.  On 3 October 1990, the last day of our visit, we ate supper at West Yellowstone, just outside the Park.  It was almost dark as we drove south toward the Inn.  At 7:20 p.m., when we were still 13 miles from the Inn, a large bird flushed from the road, flew west across the narrow Firehole River, and lit in a tree.  My shouted "STOP!!" got my brother to stop and I grabbed my little Nikon 8x24 binoculars.  At that time, I thought they were all I needed and they were cheap.  But in the dusk, I could make out only a smudge in the tree.  For the trip, my brother had borrowed a pair of 10x50 Swarovsky binoculars from one of his law partners and he handed them to me.  I looked through them and it was like daylight, and there sat the OWL!!  My brother said he had never seen me so excited.  I guess he was right, as the long search had finally ended.
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I live on the Frontier, one mile NE of Broken Bow in McCurtain County.
Q.  What was your WORST??
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I would never say I have had a "worst" birding experience, because I like to chase birds whether or not I see any.  Of course, I prefer to see them.  But there is one little episode that made me swallow in mid-brag, and it happened last December 31st (2001) at the end of the Black Mesa Christmas Bird Count.  I was pushing for 300 Oklahoma yearbirds last year and needed about four, by my count, to reach 300.  I cannot recall which bird it was that was the final one, but I got the fourth bird shortly before dark.  You who don't know me must realize that I was very humble and subdued after this achievement, quietly taking it in stride. HA!!  I crowed and strutted and bragged and danced.  I had my 300!  And then I counted again.  Something was wrong; I found one bird on the list that was checked, but I thought later that it was not on the list so I had also written it in.  A double count.  Life can be cruel.  I got 299 Oklahoma birds last year.  I may get over it in a hundred years or so.  No pain is forever.
Q.  What are you most likely to say when a bird flies before you can ID it?
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My language is rarely tempered by much restraint, especially when frustration stimulates me to rant and rave.  I am sure that I have shocked some of my more genteel birding friends at times because my repertoire of vile words is extensive and well-used.  The way I see it, if you just store such a treasure trove, it is of no value.  I like to exercise my vocabulary now and then, but I will decline here to pen any of my choice words or phrases lest there be young readers or even plagiarists just waiting to steal such choice words which provide great soothing and satisfying therapeutic benefits when properly applied.
Q.  What's the last book you read?
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My last book was the "Journal of the Freeman and Custis Expedition up the Red River in 1806" by Dan Flores.  My favorite books are "Two Little Savages" by Ernest Thompson Seton, "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn, and "Shogun" by James Clavell.  There are more, but these 3 stand out.
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