Growing up in the corner of the world that houses the Sonoran desert and the extremely biodiverse sky islands of the southwest granted me a magical childhood. With such an interesting environment surrounding me, the sweetest memories of my childhood always involved being outdoors, so naturally, the sounds of the birds of the southwest were involved with my favorite memories.


Through my experience at Saguaro National Park with my Environment for the Americas Internship, I have started to learn the names of many of the birds that sang in the background of my favorite memories in the southwest. I have been able to learn what visitors I have in my backyard such as the Gila Woodpecker, Mourning doves, Annas hummingbirds, Verdin, House finches, and Vermilion flycatchers to name a few. I am now able to recognize a few calls beyond my backyard to identify which birds are joining me and my crew mates during my work outside. Such as Gambels Quail, Curved Billed Thrashers, Canyon Wrens, Cactus Wrens, Lucys Warblers, Greater Roadrunners and more. I have included hyperlinks to share the sounds that have become so familiar to me. I encourage readers to click on the names of these birds to hear the sounds of the southwest.


This year has brought me new beauty and passion towards the time I get to spend outdoors. The insight to cue into what wild feather-wearing friends surround me by knowing their songs and calls has been priceless knowledge. It has made me appreciate my surrounding environment that much more. I was not alone in my quest for knowledge when it came to learning the songs and calls of the birds of my surroundings, my crew mate Sarahi Porcayo pointed out and taught me the majority of these sounds with her extensive knowledge of birds. Already having learned the majority of birds in the eastern region of Illinois she comes from, she brought me along with her on the exciting journey of learning all of the new birds in an entirely different environment, the Southwest. I was lucky enough to be able to experience the desert with new eyes again through the excited search for knowledge Sarahi has for identifying birds. I am grateful to have been along to learn beside her. It was an excitement for knowledge that had me downloading bird call-identifying apps and purchasing bird-identification materials in my free time.


EFTA not only provided me with an exciting and passionate environment to learn in but also provided me and all of my crew mates new binoculars that personally allowed me to see birds in a clarity I have never been able to reach with my poor eyesight. Thanks to the experience I have had at this internship, I have been able to see the world around me in a whole new light and perspective that has granted me even more wonder and excitement towards my future memories outside than I could have imagined possible. I will forever be grateful to EFTA for the experience of learning what feathered friends I might have surrounding me and for allowing me to cherish my memories even more by understanding the names of the singers in the background of my favorite childhood memories.





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