Q. What got you interested in birding?
Q.  What's your favorite birding spot in Oklahoma?

Introducing our April 2005
Birder of the Month:

Mary Beth Stowe
of San Diego, California

Mary Beth birded all 4 corners of Oklahoma
and a good bit of the spaces in between
during the entire month of April 2005,
and entertained and delighted us
with her regular postings on OKbirds.
Since the only requirement to be eligible
as an "OKie-Birder-of-the-Month"
is that the person bird in Oklahoma,
we think you'll agree that
Mary Beth is more than qualified!

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?
Since I was ten, so that would be almost 38 years.
An argument:  when I was eight or nine, I heard a bird (back in Michigan) and said to my best friend, "That's a Baltimore Oriole!"  My friend heard another bird and said, "No, THAT's a Baltimore Oriole!"  So we got into a big fight about it, and my mom decided she was gonna settle it by buying me a bird record.  I thought she was gonna get one of those "Birds Songs in Your Garden" things, but she ended up getting Petterson's Field Guide to Bird Songs!  We found out we were both wrong (I had heard a Cardinal and my friend had heard a Song Sparrow), but the more "priimitive"-sounding birds grabbed my attention (the American Bittern was the clincher, I think), long before I knew what any of them looked like!  The bird books came afterwards, and the rest is history, as they say; I was obsessed!
Boy, that's hard to say, because each place had its own magic!  The area where I racked up the most species in a day was combining Hackberry Flat and Wichita Mountains, with a total of 97 species.  The lowest tally (for a full birding day) was the Black Mesa area, but that's kind of to be expected in an area with limited habitat, but the quality of species was great.  The only place where I truly felt disappointed was Washita and Foss Reservoir, but that could have been a combination of the time of day and ripping my jeans to shreds (plus the flat tire.....)
World-wide or in North America?  My absolute favorite is the Great Philippine Eagle (that's what Miriam is patterned after [Editor's note:  Mary Beth is a very talented artist, too]), but for North America I would have to include Swallow-tailed Kite, Roadrunner, and either magpie (although the Yellow-billed is by far the prettiest).  The eagle has always fascinated me since I was a kid (I guess it was the fright wig), but seeing one live at the LA zoo really got me hooked on them!  The kite is so beautifully elegant for a hawk, and I've always loved "Beep Beep," so I guess the Roadrunner would stand to reason, and the magpies are quite elegant and nappy in their own right!
It has to be the Golden-cheeked Warbler story:
one April in Texas, I figured it was time to get the Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler, and since I have no qualms about counting heard-only birds as lifers (so long as I'm absolutely sure of the ID, just like you should be for a sighting), it didn't take long to pick up both species (the vireo at Kerr WMA and the warbler at Lost Maples).  But especially in the case of the warbler, they just WOULD NOT come out to give a look!

I went to several places, and by the time I got to Pedernales Falls and heard yet another Golden-cheek in the distance while on a little short loop nature trail, I had given up trying to get them out and just marked it down in my notepad, pondering my "Sears Catalogue" approach to birding:  hearing it is Good, seeing it is Better, and getting a crippling photo of it is Best! 
And I said, "Okay, Lord, I give up; just hearing it is good enough for me!"  So as I continued on and was enjoying a Cardinal, suddenly something caught the corner of my vision, and it was the male Golden-cheek tearing in!  I popped the flash and got the first (albeit out-of-focus) shot off, and he shook his little head and came in closer!  I got another shot off, he shook his little head, and came in closer!  This went on forever, it seemed, until the final result (see above)!  He finally got bored and made his way up the tree, but I stood there in tears as I heard the Lord say, "You were willing to be content with the Good, so I gave you My Very Best!"
Aw, nuts!
Just finished up Madeline L'Engle's "An Acceptable Time," a gift from my friend Judy Pike.  (She's a big Madeline fan!)
Q.  Who are your heroes or role models?  Whom do you admire? and if you care to comment, why are they your heroes?
It has to be Jesus, hands down, as a hero because he loves me unconditionally, forgives me of everything I ever did or thought (past, present, and future), and gave me a right standing before God; and as a role model---well, that's a no-brainer (it's humanly impossible to live up to in my own strength, but it doesn't keep me from doing my best!)  On a purely human level, my friend Jon really put that into action where I could see a good example of the heart of Christ:  how to show a sincere interest in even the most difficult of people, to treat them with kindness, and to be sensitive to ways you can help others.
Q. How long have you been birding?
Mary Beth and her Toucan, Gabriel,
who now resides in "Toucan Heaven."
The only one I can really recall that had no redeeming value to it was standing on the spit at Point Pelee in a driving rain with our local field trip, sorting through gulls and terns (or trying to, as both my bins and glasses were covered with water).  That was the moment I decided that I would NEVER bird in the rain again, if I could help it!  Physically, the worst was my first pelagic trip off of South Carolina (that was before bona fide pelagics and you had to bum a ride with a fishing boat), where I was horribly seasick the whole time, but the consolation prize was my life Pomarine Jaeger at point blank range!