Sharon Stiteler, birding expert, blogger, photographer–“Birdchick”

by | Dec 9, 2020

Sharon Stiteler—who’s so steeped in the birding world, as a blogger, photographer, author of “1001 Secrets Every BirderShould Know,” and more, that she’s also known as “Birdchick”—recalls when the birding bug first bit, when she was seven, and snagged a field guide intended for her older sister. She explains that her mother helped cultivate this precocious interest in birds, giving Striter bird books and other items as birthday gifts, and encouraging others to do the same. She goes on to outline how, in her college years, when she was studying drama, she had something of an epiphany, realizing she didn’t love acting with the great passion she loved birding. That was it. That was in 1997. And that spawned her oft-repeated mantra: “Since 1997, I have successfully made it my goal to get paid to go birding.” Striter catalogs the string of jobs, gigs, and projects she’s undertaken in service of fulfilling that mantra. While that involved a certain level of travel, including international sojourns, she observes that one by-product of the pandemic-forced lockdown is the way it enabled Stiteler to settle in and more fully appreciate the birds in her backyard, and native plants. She discusses digiscoping, placing the lens of a digital camera, or smart phone, to the eyepiece of a spotting scope to take photos, and offers a few tips from her book, “1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know” (including that, especially as new birder, if you see a bird that doesn’t appear in a birding guide or app, you probably didn’t discover a new bird! Stiteler fields questions and comments from listeners—about hummingbirds, pelicans, and more, plus plants and flowers that will help attract an array of birds—and some listeners weighed in, providing suggestions to fellow listeners. She also responds to a request for guidance on what equipment a brand new birder would need to get started. (,

PLEASE NOTE: Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin was booked for a brief interview to discuss two wildly disparate things that happened on the previous Thursday, Dec. 3: the awful incident in which a tiger attacked and severely injured a longtime volunteer at the sanctuary, and The Big Cat Public Safety Act, important legislation Baskin (and many others) had worked on for years, passed the House. However, when it came time for the interview, Baskin couldn’t talk, explaining in a message that the USDA showed up for a surprise inspection, making her unavailable for the interview.

COMEDY CORNER:  Jackie Kashian’s “New Dog”  (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Stephanie Seymour’s “Veery,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Leonard Cohen’s  “Bird on the Wire”


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