I have always loved animals since I can remember and I always wanted to be a biologist, but just a few years before I got my biology degree I become interested in birds. In the past, I used to hear and watch birds but I never got interested in understanding their biology and ecology, which makes me think that most of the people interested in animals in the beginning always focus on iconic and charismatic animals. People always forget about birds, especially those that live in the cities and are common, I think that’s one of the reasons that makes people not to be fully engaged in learning more about them. When I got more involved in ornithology and birding, I finally understood how amazing the world of birding is, and how many things I skipped before. I think that 99% of people in the world don’t realize the amazing diversity of life they might have in their backyards or in the parks of their cities, the busy world full of rush and people looking to produce more money partnered with the idea of animals that you hear and observe around every day, makes people lose their curiosity for understanding the natural world and all the creatures that inhabit it.
Talking and teaching kids about birds is one of the most fulfilling things related to outreach that I’ll carry with me after this internship; exposing people to ornithological experiences makes me believe that I am introducing them to a whole new world. I want to believe that eventually one or two of those kids will realize all the beauty that surrounds them and they will become birders. For me, it makes me feel special to know that I am part of the few people that appreciate things that most people just pass by without noticing and I want to transmit the love I have for birds and animals to the next generations. In my opinion, to convert people into bird lovers you must have the following:
Passion: If people observe that you are passionate maybe you can spread that feeling to them.
Be open: One of the biggest problems of us scientists is that sometimes we underestimate people’s opinions, especially if they are inaccurate. It is important to teach people without being a know-it-all, so they can be interested in birding and share their ideas about it.
Be happy: When you love something and want to protect it with your heart and soul, people may notice that you are enjoying what you are doing and they might feel the same too.