|UMLY's middle school and high school birding teams. Bet you never |
thought birders could look so hardcore.
I was posted with the high school team, the B.B. Kingfishers, comprised of Ben Bussmann, Austin Smith and Nathaniel Sharp. They each spend hours every week studying avian appearances, calls and behaviors in preparation for this one day. The competition kicked off at 12 am to a thunderstorm in the middle of the Great Swamp a disappointing zero birds for the first hour. Not the best place to be. However, things steadily improved as the day went on. They improved so much that by the end of the competition, the UMLY team had won. Not just the youth division, but the entire competition. Against adults who have been doing this their entire lives!
While knowing very little about birds myself, I was incredibly impressed by their teamwork and, of course, honesty, which is a absolute requirement for a competition based on the honor system. Weather patterns leading into the competition made things difficult, not to mention the torrential rain we dealt with during the event. Despite all of this, they didn't just overcome, but excelled.
As for the photo, I wanted to create something edgy and conveyed how flat out awesome these guys are. I doubt anyone associates birding with being "hardcore," "extreme," or "edgy". But they are. So get over it. Now all we need to do is get some instruments in their hands and add some tour dates.