Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

I'm a couple of days late, but still! ;) I hope all of you had good 2013s. If your 2013 wasn't so great, I hope your 2014 is so amazing that it makes up for any disappointments. To all of you starting Big Years: Good luck!!

I wanted to do a quick recap of my 2013, because it was so amazing! These are all of the big bird-related events that happened to me last year.
  • In April, I found out that I won the American Birding Association's Young Birder of the Year contest along with Eric Hughes. This was the start of a wild, year-long ride. As one of the Young Birders of the Year, I received a pair of Leica Trinovids, and I also got to write for The Eyrie, fly to Delaware to speak at the Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference, and participate in an interview for Birding Magazine. There are still a few months left until 2014's Young Birder of the Year is announced... I'm excited to see who it'll be! The YBY contest always uncovers such cool artists, writers, photographers, and projects. 
  • Sometime in the summer, my parents very generously got me a new camera (a Nikon D3200), which has been so much fun to play with and learn about. If any of the pictures on this blog have made you think "wow that's cool," 50% of the awesomeness came right from that camera! (The other 50% came from the bird. I just push buttons.)
  • In July, I attended the American Birding Association's Camp Colorado on a scholarship from the Central Valley Bird Club. Thanks, CVBC! :) This was my first birding camp, and it was better than I could have ever expected. I got to meet super intelligent and inspiring camp leaders, and equally inspiring young birders. The birding was amazing, the Colorado landscapes were stunning. If you want to read my whole account of Camp Colorado, you can find it here! What good memories. I can't believe that was already half a year ago.
  • In August, my family flew to Romania and I saw my first few European species! That was just the first taste... You can bet I will be back in Europe for a more thorough tour. ;)
  • Later on in August, I moved into college at Berkeley! Being in this new environment of birds has been really interesting. It's only an hour or so away from my hometown, but the variety of birds is almost completely different. I haven't had too much time to explore, what with... homework... and essays... and all that... but I hope to do more exploring in the spring. Berkeley is also where I got involved with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. The MVZ is one of my favorite places on campus. Get ready for even more stories from the museum next semester!
  • In September, I attended the Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference. I had only attended one birding conference before in 2012 with the Western Field Ornithologists. This conference was different in one huge way: I was invited to be one of the keynote speakers. A lot of people congratulated me and complimented me for my speech, so thanks, guys!! This conference was a whirlwind of birding and speeches and meeting cool people. It was oodles of fun. I can't wait to visit Delaware again, and travel the rest of the East Coast, too! You can read my write-up of this fun conference here.
That's about it for big, important events! 2013 was a very enjoyable year for birding. I look forward to another year of early morning wake-up calls, long hours in the field, and notebooks full of sketches. May your year be full of the same! <3

A Black Phoebe from Christmas Day.


  1. Great blog. Reminds me a lot of
    Keep it up


  2. Hi Ioana. I heard about your blog as I was reading about the winners of the ABA YBY contest on the Eyrie. You are doing a great job. I am also a young birder who has been participating in the YBY contest for three years now. I did the conservation module this year and chose to improve the bird habitat in my yard. I too created a blog called Better Bird Habitats ( I hope you'll check it out some time. Congratulations on getting 1st in the YBY contest. I got second in my age group!!! Hopefully I'll get first this year. :< $

    1. Hi, Chloe! It's nice to meet you! Wow, it's super cool that you got second. Fingers crossed that you win this year! ;) But even if you don't, I'm still super impressed with how hard you've been working, and how much you've achieved. Better Bird Habitats is really neat. You've put a lot of thought into that blog! I'll put a link to it on my sidebar so more people can see it. :) Keep in touch, and good luck!

  3. Wow! Thank you SO much! I'll put a link to your blog in my sidebar too. ;)