Pottawattamie County Conservation is eagerly looking forward to welcoming Sharon Stiteler, aka “The Birdchick” as she kicks off our 2019 Speaker Series. This intrepid birder has made it her mission to get paid to go birding around the world & she has some amazing stories to share in her upcoming presentation “Today’s Office” coming up on May 11th at 4:00 p.m. at Hitchcock Nature Center. This event is free with park admission or an annual membership & it is open to anyone age 14 & over.
She was kind enough to chat with our Naturalist Michelle to give you all an idea of what to expect & a glimpse into her unique career path.
What was it that initially sparked your interest in birds?
I saw a Peterson Field Guide when I was seven years old and snapped. I saw that there was such a thing as a crow-sized woodpecker and I was hooked.
You are presenting at the speaker series coming up on May 11th what are some highlights we can expect at your presentation?
What it’s like to go birding in a nudist colony.
You are a cool “Birdchick” what is your favorite part of your work?
Every day my job is different. Sure I have office days, but some days I’m in biking along with bee-eaters in Austria and others leading kayak tours on the Mississippi River.
When you were a fledgling photographer/speaker/writer/birder what was one of your most frustrating challenges and how did you keep yourself motivated?
The hardest part was getting people to pay me for my work. People would say, “but you like birds, so you should do this for free” or “this will be good exposure.” I would reply, “People die of exposure in my line of work.”
If you only had a minute or two to inspire or encourage people to care about birds, what would you tell them?
My go to is to always tell them about the ballistic spiral penises on ducks. If that’s too risqué I also tell them that birding is a like a treasure hunt you can do where ever you go. Only the treasure moves…and sometimes changes color.
Are there any suggested books or publications you would suggest, for participants who are interested in learning more prior the event in May?
You find someone with the handle Birdchick on social media, that would be me. I’m on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
To learn more about Sharon & her work you can find her all over the internet. Check out her website at www.birdchick.com for a full listing of where you can find her & how you can follow her amazing adventures.