I have always loved nature, but birding started off as a simple spark of interest by watching the movie The Big Year with my mom and my aunt. I thought it would be fun to do a “big spring break” but at the time it was just about getting numbers on my life list. It wasn’t until I saw my lifer Common Loon, sitting out on the Churchville Reservoir preening, that I realized that birding was more than just writing down numbers.
Along with birding come many great experiences, seeing things, and going places. Because of birding I have made new friends, slept in a lodge overnight, and even held my lifer Saw-whet Owl. I have seen some remarkable things like an American Kestrel fly through the sky like a bullet and grab a Savannah Sparrow taking off from the grasses. Four feet off the trail at Churchville Nature Center and two feet above my head, I saw an Eastern Screech-Owl. I have had warblers of all kinds flitting around and calling on branches at eye-level all around me. I have had the opportunity to go to many cool places like Delaware for the ABA/Leica Mid-Atlantic Young Birders Conference; Brigantine, New Jersey for a Churchville Nature Center trip; and Rushton Farms for Northern Saw-whet Owl banding with the PA Young Birders Club. Birding has changed my life and I would say in a very positive way.
About the author: Philip Stollsteimer is a 12-year-old from Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is a 7th grader in the Council Rock School District. While Tyler State Park is close to home, he really loves to bird at Churchville Nature Center and join their Saturday morning bird walks.