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What was your "Spark" bird?

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#1 illin



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Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:33 PM

By spark bird I mean the bird that got you into the birding hobby. I think most people have a bird that they did not know, or that they really wanted to see, that got them started. I think it would be fun to hear what got everyone into this crazy passtime and why.

As for me it was the Dickcissel. I was driving home from work one morning and I saw a bird sitting on a powerline that I had not seen before. It was colored like a Meadowlark and shaped like a Sparrow. I thought I knew about the wildlife in my area and wanted to know what this bird I did not know was. I got on the internet and found the Illinois Birder's Forum. Quickly I realized that I did not know even half the birds that come through my area. That was the spark that led me to where I am today.

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#2 meghann



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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:08 PM

This picture right here. I've been doing nature photography for a long time, including birds. Most of the common birds I knew, and ones I didn't, it didn't bother me too much. Then I saw this bird and thought "What in the HECK is that?!" My sister helped me look online and we finally figured it out. I think that's what started me down the path of really wanting to know what the different birds are, and not seeing them as just photography subjects.

Posted Image
Yellow Shafted Flicker by midgetinvasion, on Flickr

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#3 dklucius


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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:29 PM

i was born on a farm way out in the sticks. We always had lots of domestic birds such as chickens and ducks and turkeys and geese. and in later years quail and pheasants and guinea hens and chuckers and just about anything else we could find. we also made pets out of magpies and jays and fed bluebirds and doves and everything else that would come to eat. i can not remember not having birds around. when i lived in towns i had parakeets and parrots and caged finches and mynah birds. now i'm retired and have a backyard with dozens of feeders and plants and flowers and shrubs and trees.

#4 BarnSwallow


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Posted 04 May 2012 - 05:57 PM

I didn't have one particular bird. My father was really an outdoorsman, and got me interested in wildlife in general. I can't remember when I first started identifying birds, but I was already birding by the first time we went to Hawaii, when I was 7. I remember seeing a Brazilian cardinal (now called the red-crested cardinal), and looking for nene geese. I also saw great frigatebirds. My mother grew up in Hawaii, and had read about "seagulls" in stories, so she called frigatebirds seagulls because that was the only bird she ever really saw at the beach!

The following year we went out west in an RV for a couple of weeks, then the next year we went to Florida for spring vacation. Going to the Everglades pretty much finished me off as a birder!!

#5 horseface



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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:17 PM

Baltimore Oriole when I was little. It was the point when birds stopped being "birds" and became all different species to me. Got me thinking what else is out there.

#6 JimBob


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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:30 PM

Mine was a Northern Flicker also. . . just thought they were so cool. Still do.

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#7 Liam


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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:43 PM

Mississippi Kite! :lol:

4riN89X.png Liam
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#8 Southerncowgirlkim



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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:17 PM

Anhinga when I first moved to Florida! :)

#9 NatureLady



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Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:35 AM

My husband got a Nikon D3100 because I was just taking scenic pictures with a Sanyo point and shoot and I'd always get blurry pictures. Then he bought the Nikon and started taking pictures of birds and the bird that got him really interested was a juvenile American Robin. But for me, it took me a few more months to really get into the birding and then I was hooked. Not any particular bird but I did get really excited about going to Florida on our honeymoon; we did so much birding down there. Almost everyday birding!!

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#10 Jenny81



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Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:46 AM

The bird that got me started was White-throated Sparrow. I was pleased when I found out what it was, so I birded (without keeping track of my observations) for about a year and my "Unknown" folder got big, then I found Whatbird and started using Ebird.

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#11 Parula


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Posted 05 May 2012 - 04:01 PM

i was just checking out birding when i went on a trip to Chincateague in the fall and saw a white cheeked pintail

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#12 Limpkin


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Posted 05 May 2012 - 04:12 PM

Captive White-necked Raven for me, eheh. She got me into birds, and after a while I kind of went "Hey, birds are cool, why am I not paying more attention to the wild ones?" and started birding. ^_^

#13 Melissa :)

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 05:04 PM

Black-necked Stilt for me. While at camp, we took a day trip down to Bombay Hook NWR for some photography. Saw my first stilt and thought it was the coolest thing ever!! It's still one of my favorite birds, and whenever I go back to the refuge there's always at least one there, even in winter (when they're not supposed to be there)! :)

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#14 Shoveler26


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Posted 05 May 2012 - 05:06 PM

Evening Grosbeak for me I have never seen one but have ALWASE wanted to see one. Now they are Very Rare in the state but when I was growing up in IN they were abundant.

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#15 ColoTomo



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Posted 05 May 2012 - 06:35 PM

Baltimore Oriole when I was little. It was the point when birds stopped being "birds" and became all different species to me. Got me thinking what else is out there.

Horsecheeks, nice to see you posting again, amigo. Funny you should mention an oriole, mine was an oriole as well. They can be exceptionally striking birds.

The one I saw was a male Hooded Oriole (in southern California). When I first tried to I.D. it, thought it was Bullock's... but that turned out to be bollocks
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#16 guy_incognito



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Posted 05 May 2012 - 06:58 PM

Tough call, but one of the birds that has always been a most wanted for me is the Western Tanager. My mom knew about this bird before I was into birding, and we would look out for them at our house. Getting a decent camera is what jump-started my birding interest, so in a way trying to photograph a Western Tanager was one of my earliest birding motivations.

Here is a picture I just got this morning, probably my best yet of a Western Tanager.
Posted Image

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#17 Pat B.

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 08:29 PM

I've looked at this thread several times and resolved to try to remember if I had a "spark" bird. You know, I don't think I did. My mother was a birder way back in the early 1950s in So. Calif., so I pretty much grew up with it: constantly hearing her point out something in the back yard or on any family vacation we took. After I left home, I don't think I did anything on my own until I lived for a couple of years in Newport Beach, CA, right above the Back Bay, which is a wetlands area. I took walks there every day and tried to ID every shore and water bird I saw. After I moved from there I'd start and stop birding over the years. Then I moved to Utah 5 years ago and found myself living less than a half hour from so many fabulous birding spots and I was hooked.

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#18 Kallpayoq



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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:34 PM

When seeing a male Northern Cardinal after moving to Michigan from the West Coast.

#19 jblakelock



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Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:30 AM

I remember being stricken with the Kingfisher picture from our set of Encyclopedias when I was ten. Kinda of forgot about it until twenty years later when a coworker told me about seeing Kingfishers in the area. I was determined to find one, and couple weeks later saw my first Kingfisher at Chincoteague NWR.
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#20 Clip


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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:06 AM

Mine was more a series of sightings. It probably really began when I saw a woodpecker of some sort. I have lived in Colorado my whole life and I had not seen one. Then an owl landed on the eave over our garage and right outside our bedroom window one night. I was awaken by WHO......WHO. It sound like a person in our bedroom. I finally mustard the nerve to get up and look. Mind you I live in a suburb so I considered this very cool and unusual. We started feeding birds shortly after this in our backyard and bought a book called Birds of Colorado, Field Guide by Stan Tekiela. Then the real kicker my husband took me up to Barr Lake State Park, Brighton, Colorado and we saw I bunch of birds neither of us had seen before including a Bullocks Oriole. Hooked at this point for sure. Barr State Park is still my favorite bird watching place.

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