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Selfie of Stephen Brooks backpacking

Selfie of the author backpacking

Introducing Stephen Brooks, Blog Manager

Before I introduce myself, I want to thank Norm Budnitz and Jim George for managing the blog over the years, and Jim for helping me get up to speed as the new blog manager. My name is Stephen Brooks. I was motivated to join the New Hope Audubon Society recently, while my spouse Carey Jefferson and I have been working toward bird-friendly habitat certification for our yard. I am excited to begin writing for and managing the NHAS blog, and I look forward to getting to know other NHAS members.


I have lived in the Triangle most of my life. In my mid-20s, my father Marshall Brooks introduced Carey and me to birding when he bought us a bird feeder. My spark bird was a male Downy Woodpecker eating suet from that feeder. I had never noticed such beauty in a small bird, with the bright red dot on the back of its head! Dad began teaching me birding techniques, like using field marks and sounds. We joined a birding workshop led by his friend Mark Johns. After that, I helped Dad run the Marshall, N.C. Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) route from the late 1990s, off and on, until 2010. Before we ran the route the second year, Dad asked me if I would be the observer rather than the recorder.

Stephen Brooks birding the Marshall, N.C. Breeding Bird Survey route, circa 2000. Photo by Marshall Brooks.

The author on the Marshall BBS route. Photo courtesy of Marshall Brooks, from Birding North Carolina, Marshall Brooks and Mark Johns, eds., FalconGuide, 2005.

He complimented my ability to identify birds by their sounds, and said he couldn’t hear as many birds as I could. (I was also a very slow recorder!) These days, Carey and I incorporate birding into our vacations and hikes. We also participate in Project FeederWatch, Mini Breeding Bird Survey, and Climate Watch. You can visit New Hope Audubon’s Community Science page to learn how to get involved in these projects. Carey and I live in Durham County.    

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