What is the difference between an ornithologist and an ornithologist?
Bird watchers “like birds and maybe notice birds…but they don’t really get out much, if at all,” said Brandy Bowmaster, one of the hosts of KZMU Radio’s Grand Birds show. .
A birder “makes an effort to go to certain places and specifically look for birds outside of his home,” she said.
According to Glenn Kincaid, the show’s other host, “A birdwatcher is a rabid ornithologist who will proactively go in search of birds.”
Kincaid and Bowmaster were brought together by Serah Mead, the station manager at KZMU, after the two came up with the idea for a local birding podcast separately. Grand Birds began in early September 2021, and next week they will host the 25th episode.
“We joined forces and it worked really well,” Kincaid said. He has watched birds since he was a child, he said, but only started paying attention to birds about 12 years ago at his home in Castle Valley. What really sparked his passion was vacations he took to various places around the world – that’s when he noticed the different birds in each location and started trying to find them.
The birding community in Moab and Grand County is quite small, Kincaid said. The core group of enthusiasts come mostly from the Moab Bird Club, but Bowmaster said part of the reason she loves doing the podcast is the idea that she can get more people involved in birding, especially the younger ones.
“I really love birds, I find them super fascinating,” Bowmaster said. “And I love talking about them. It seems there are a lot of people who don’t know much about birds, and [the show] seems like a great way to share interesting information and get people interested a bit. »
Bowmaster participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count, held on December 18, 2021. The Christmas Bird Count is a national event started in 1900 by the Audubon Society. birds they see. Moab’s counts are still counted by members of the Moab Bird Club, but Bowmaster said his group, which counted birds on the east side of town, found last year’s bird count was quieter. than usual, although the group saw a few sharp birds. -the shin hawks.
Another reason Bowmaster is on the show is to get more people interested in bird conservation, she said. She found that in the world of birding, birders report increasingly quieter years. In 2019, a study found that since the 1970s, 2.9 billion birds have been lost in North America alone due to factors including pollution, habitat destruction and climate change.
“The birds are actually really in trouble right now,” she said. “We need everyone we can find who is willing to do what they can to help them.”
This winter, Bowmaster and Kincaid said to watch out for winter waterfowl and finches, which nest in the high mountains but come down the slopes in winter to avoid heavy snowstorms.
“I really enjoy bird watching during the winter season because it’s a really good opportunity to really get used to what’s going on and get familiar with the soundscape,” Bowmaster said. “And then anytime the birds start to come back in the spring, it’s super apparent.”
As the Grand Birds show continues, Kincaid said he looks forward to telling more stories from local birders.
“We will continue to explore our mix of field reports and speak with local birdwatchers or scientists involved in ecology or biology,” Kincaid said. “There are more people we would like to chat with and tell their stories to the public.”
The show airs on KZMU radio (90.1 and 106.7 FM) on Fridays at 11:50 a.m. and can also be found on Soundcloud and Apple Podcasts.