Photo story by Jeanne Kuehn
About a year and a half ago, the company I work for moved to Round Table Drive in Dallas. On my first visit to the new location, I was thrilled to discover the building is right next to a creek. This ‘Office Creek’ is next to the levee for the Bachman Branch of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. There are cattails and other water plants in the creek and Pecan, Hackberry and Cottonwood trees in the area, which means there are birds.
I started taking my binoculars with me to work and recording the birds I saw on eBird. EBird is the Cornell University website where citizen scientists worldwide track birds; their populations, rare appearances, migrations, breeding patterns, etc.
One day, while I was observing birds, one of my co-workers asked me what I was seeing. To his apparent surprise, it was a Yellow-crowned Night Heron. That was when I realized my co-workers might be unaware of the richness of the environment around us and might be interested in knowing what was in the area.
I started documenting my observations with my camera in order to share the photos of the local birds with my co-workers. I have photographed most of the over 60 bird species I have recorded on eBird so far, including one escaped bright yellow parakeet!
From time to time, I print some of the photographs and put them in frames in our lunch room. The frames allow me to switch out photos, so I can share more pictures. I provide a list of all the species I have seen so far, which I update as I see more. Each photo is numbered with the corresponding number on the list, so people know what bird is pictured.
Occasionally, someone will ask what a bird on the list looks like. I enjoy sharing what resources are available to identify birds, such as field guides, apps and websites such as eBird.org, allaboutbirds.org, and the Merlin bird ID app.