BCR 104: Lucas Stephenson, Young Birder
Lucas became interested in birding while on a backpacking trip at Point Reyes. One night a great horned owl perched outside his tent and called into the early morning hours, and was there to greet him when he opened the tent at daybreak. Since that moment he has taken a keen interest in observing birds. He has been inspired by his Uncle Tom Stephenson, who wrote the Warbler Guide; Lisa Hug a well known Bay Area birder who leads the Young Birders group called YAMS (Young Ancient Murrelets), and his Dad, a life-long birder who grew up watching birds with Arthur Allen and other avid birders from Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology.
Lucas is fascinated by bird behavior and how birds fit into their larger ecological community. Beyond observing birds, Lucas has become interested in bird art, photography as well. He has given a number of bird presentations in his school using photos he and his Dad have taken; and is scheduled to present at Napa-Solano Audubon sharing his experiences of birding in Kauai.
Lucas loves exploring new places and has birded extensively throughout Northern California. He has had many bird discoveries/firsts during the past 2 years, including the latest Fall record in the Bay Area of a Blackburnian Warbler (Sonoma – December 6, 2016), the 3rd sighting of a Black-tailed Gull in Northern California, (Monterey – January 12, 2017), and recently the 1st record of a Black-throated Green Warbler for Marin County in over 6 years, (Point Reyes – December 13, 2017). During the past 2 years, Lucas has observed over 400 species in Northern California. (Quite an accomplishment for an 11-year-old birder.)
Lucas utilizes Cornell’s eBird database to record all of his bird sightings. He also frequently reports to the North Bay Birds section of Birding List Digest to assist other Bay Area birders in locating uncommon and rare species. He regularly participates in local Napa-Solano Audubon and Redwood Regional Ornithological Society Field Trips where he is well known for his keen eyesight, near photographic memory of bird field marks, and knowledge of bird songs and call notes.
- How did you get interested in birding?
- I heard that this past week Lucas, you discovered a rare eastern migrant for Northern California, a Black-throated Green Warbler at Point Reyes. Tell us more about this.
- What are some other fun experiences you have had birding?
- Tell us about YAMS, Young Ancient Murrelets.
- Lucas, I understand that you are fascinated by bird behavior and how birds fit into their larger ecological community. What got you interested in this and what conclusions have you made so far.
- You have recently become interested in bird art, photography, audio recording. Can you tell us more about your extended passions?
- Please share your experiences of birding in Kauai.
- What is it about birds that interests you?
- You have had several rare bird discoveries during the past 2 years, including the recent Fall record in the Bay Area of a Blackburnian Warbler (Sonoma – December 6, 2016), the 3rd sighting of a Black-tailed Gull in Northern California, (Monterey – January 12, 2017), and recently the 1st record of a Black-throated Green Warbler for Marin County in over 6 years, (Point Reyes – December 13, 2016). What skills do you use to make such observations?
- How many birds have you seen.
- What tools do you use to record your observations and why is this important?
- You have certain skills that make you an above average birder, what are they, and when did you become aware of them?
Mentioned in this episode:
Redwood Regional Ornithological Society:
Point Blue Conservation Science
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You sound great Lucas! Very professional, informative, appreciative, and crediting lots of people in your life! Lots of good advice for new birders! Great interview and marvelous host, Mardi Dickinson.
Awesome interview Lucas and thanks to Mardi. Nature can teach us so much. We have enjoyed our birding excursions with you too – really enjoyed that Palm warbler and Prairie warbler yesterday at Pt. Reyes.
[…] Lucas Stephenson – Young Birder BCR interview #104 […]