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

Introducing our January 2004
Birder of the Month:

Bonnie Gall
of Bartlesville, OK
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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 live about 7 miles east of Bartlesville, OK in Washington County, near the banks of beautiful Hogshooter Creek.  We have 10 acres of woods and access to another 100 acres or so for birding and hiking.
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Seeing a Painted Bunting in my backyard when I lived in Bartlesville made me realize what interesting and varied birds could be.  Then my friend Melinda Droege and I went to a Bartlesville Bird Club meeting and met so many wonderful and interesting people.  Finally, seeing a dark shape in the pre-dawn gloom of my first Christmas Bird Count and realizing we had a Short-eared Owl hooked me completely.
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The question is unfair because there are so many wonderful birding spots in Oklahoma.  How can one be the favorite?  But a few include Black Mesa for all those western birds, Salt Plains for the wonderful water birds (from Snowy Plovers to Whooping Cranes), and closer to home, the wildlife management areas of Hulah Reservoir, Copan Reservoir, and upper Oologah Lake for the familiar and the surprises that can be found at any time of the year.
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I've been using Sibley since it came out and just received the smaller, two-volume set for Christmas.  However, I'll frequently use National Geographic.
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My favorite bird is the American Avocet for its elegant look and the upturned bill of an optimist.  I can watch a single bird or groups moving together with equal pleasure.  The first time I saw one (at Lake Oologah), I was instantly captivated.
#2 would be the Painted Bunting for its gorgeous tropical colors and upbeat "Tally-Ho" song -- ta-tata-ta-tut (last with an upward emphasis).  I always want to finish it with da-dut, da-dut, da-dut (downward but not actually sung by the birds).
And #3 is any bird-of-prey.  It's amazing that I haven't wrecked the car while hawk-watching at 0-70 mph!!
A.
This also is a hard question because so many moments come to mind.  One that I always remember vividly, however, is standing on the Texas Coast at Bolivar Flats, east of Galveston, watching exhausted Yellow Warblers flying in from the ocean a foot off the ground until they could plop down in the first clump of grass they could find.  How do those birds have enough energy to make the long trip across the Gulf of Mexico twice a year?  Then, just a few hours later, we met a man who had picked up a Scarlet Tanager that had died of exhaustion.
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One Christmas Count at Hulah Reservoir was one of those days that made me question my good sense and sanity.  Six inches of wet, slushy snow on the ground and fog that cut visibility to about 25 feet and lingered all day, making every step outside the car misery.  My boots were leaky, and 4 extra pairs of socks were soon as wet as the cold slush.  Even finding Golden-crowned Kinglets failed to brighten a long, miserable day.
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I can't see it!!!!! *#@! -- or something to that effect.
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I am a voracious reader, mostly of fiction.  One book that I finished recently is "Letters from Yellowstone," by Diane Smith.  This story describes a young woman during the late 19th century who joins a botanical collecting group in Yellowstone.  Of course, the other members of the group don't know that she is female until she shows up at the camp.  Right now, I'm in the midst of "The Companions," by Sherri S. Tedder.  This sci-fi/fantasy novel deals with endangered species, overcrowding, land use, aliens, space travel, politics, spies, and sex.  WOW, it has everything!
Q.  Who are your heroes or role models?  Whom do you admire? and if you care to comment, why are they your heroes?
A.
I admire anyone who can remember all the different bird chips and flight calls from one field trip to the next.  I admire anyone who can weave words into stories that can make you forget time and place, if only for a little while.  And I admire anyone who has the vision to go beyond their personal boundaries to work on making this world a better place for all.
Q. How long have you been birding?
A.
I started birding in 1975, about the time I moved to Hogshooter Creek.
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