Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig - Born to Bird




I’m Birdgirl: I’m seriously into nature, but especially birds. I went on my first twitch when I was nine days old to the Isles of Scilly for a Lesser Kestrel. (Yes Dad, I know I can’t count it). My dad’s a birder and my mum’s a twitcher/OCD world birder. My fourth word was ‘birdie’ whilst pointing at a Black Lark on Anglesey. (Yes mum I know I can’t count it, still too young). Basically, my life revolves around birds (apart from ballet, tap, modern, piano, guitar, choir, drama, Spanish, Guides and Scouts that is!).





Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig twitching to the Isles of Scilly for a 
Lesser Kestrel at 9 days, May 2002 with Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig twitching to the Isles of Scilly for a 
Lesser Kestrel at 9 days, May 2002 with Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at 20 months. Mum organised her first 
foreign birding trip: she thought the Pyrenees in February was a good idea! 
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig




I love birding, especially in my garden. I’m into ringing, and twitching is a habit I can’t seem to shake off, but my heart lies with world birding. My obsession started when Mum and Dad took me on my first South American trip, to Ecuador in August 2010.





Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on a canopy tower in the
Amazon, Ecuador in August 2010

Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


My local patch is Chew Valley Lake and it’s where I go ringing. I am also lucky enough to live close to the Somerset Levels, which is great for wildlife. I love going to the Isles of Scilly because it is beautiful and a Mecca for birds.



The only time I have ever done a year list was in 2009. The BBC decided to do a program about birders and begged us to be in it. But then they decided to give it a “funny” title (at the expense of the people in it) which was ‘Twitchers: A Very British Obsession’. Here’s a link to the Birdgirl cut, in case you don’t believe me,







Publicity photo of Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig for 
Twitchers: A Very British Obsession
I was obviously the cutest of all the stars!



I use BUBO Listing to keep track of all the birds I have seen. Whenever I look at my records I’m reminded of all the fantastic birds I have seen, like my 400th British bird, Booted Warbler, which I saw when I was 9.

This blog is basically for me to tell you a bit about myself, what I’m up to, to say what I think about conservation issues and to moan about what humans are doing to the earth.

It’s really sad about what people are doing to our planet (the only one we have) and as well as being incredibly depressing, is also very stupid. I mean, what happens when we run out of stuff, e.g. Oxygen? Also tons of birds (yes, I did have to drag them in) are dying out. When I’m older I want to try and help change things.

When I was 4, I spent a month in South Africa on a road trip looking for birds and wildlife. My older sister Ayesha often moaned about having to be in the back of the 4x4 with me, so she and mum organised a rota for who sat next to me (because I was such an angel). The best birds of the trip were Ostrich, African Penguin, Secretarybird, Cape Rockjumper and a Kimberley Pipit (who’s only known habitat is a football pitch in the middle of Kimberley!). Some of the animals I was lucky enough to see were lions (I got up close and personal with them), elephants, buffalo, a leopard and white rhinos.


Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Mkuze National Park,
South Africa, July 2006 with Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza

Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


Ostrich, South Africa, July 2006
Photograph taken by and copyright Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza




Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in the Amazon, Ecuador, August 2010 
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig 



In 2012 I went to Ghana, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. Everywhere we went there were community projects, to save the environment and birds but at the same time giving money back to the communities. One of these places was where we saw the Yellow-headed Picathartes, wow what a bird.


Yellow-headed Picathartes village, Ghana, January 2012 
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at the Fuertes's 
Parrot Reserve, Colombia, March 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig




Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Sajama National Park, Bolivia, June 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding at Machu Picchu, Peru, August 2012

Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig







Masked Fruiteater, Oxapampa, Peru, July 2012
Photograph taken by and copy write Alex Durand Torres



In 2013 I went to Queensland Australia, where I saw my new favourite bird: Southern Cassowary. It looks more like a dinosaur than a bird. I also saw my 3000th bird at the beginning of the trip, a Regent Bowerbird. I did lots of other things too, like feeding wild dolphins, going on a whale watching boat and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.


                           
Southern Cassowary - Mission Beach, Queensland, Australia, August 2013 -
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig





Regent Bowerbird - My 3000th world bird
Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia, July 2013
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at the Cairn built by birders to marks the spot at McNamara's
Road, Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia, August 2013 for the rare Carpentarian Grasswren,
which reputedly is one of Australia's hardest birds to see

Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig



When I was 9 I decided that I wanted to go to all the continents before I was 15. At the time it seemed decades away, but my deadline is looming… but as the song goes ‘always look on the bright side of life’. I only have one continent left (let’s forget it’s the most difficult to get to: Antarctica).


TTFN (ta ta for now!)



About the writer




Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig




Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker.    She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world.  She was the youngest person to see 3,000 birds in 2013 and she hopes to see her 4,000th bird in Antarctica, her 7th continent, in 2015.  Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter











20 comments:

  1. An interesting & well written piece. I'd love to hear more of your travels in South America :)

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    1. Thank you! I love talking about South America so I guess we'll both be happy! but I can't say any more or I might reveal something that I'm hoarding away for future posts...

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  2. WOW! This is brilliant :). It'll be people like you who WILL make the World a better place to live. Go for it!

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    1. Thank you so much, its comments like this that make me happy! As for making the world a better place, I don't know if I'll succeed, but I'm definitely going to try! :D

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  3. What a fabulous blog! The photos are wonderful and the text has had me in tears laughing. How old were you before Dad would let you 'count it'? ATB Mya.Rose

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    1. According to Dad, I HAD to be 4 before I could count any birds. How ridiculous is that! Think how awesome and big my list would be if I could count every bird I've ever seen! but I guess it kind of makes sense :(

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    2. I think 4 is a fair cut-off point, most of my memories really kick in from being aged 4, my life before that is a blur. I had a list of maybe 10+ species at age 4 that I knew to see, stuff like Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Starling etc. Never went to see anything rare that I don't remember, so I don't mind dismissing the years before that.
      Hard luck on being too young for the Black Lark, by the way. That was a nice bird! Only bird I've twitched in Britain from Ireland.

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    3. I don't mind not counting the the Black Lark because I can't remember it, but I CAN remember birds from our Madeira trip when I was 3, as well as lots of animals and being sick on my mum on a boat ;(

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  4. Great Blog Mya, look forward to hearing more about all your adventures!!
    The Next Generation Birders are looking forward to when you can join our network of young aspiring birders, and share some of your fantastic experiences with us! All the best.

    Matt Bruce

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    1. Thanks Matt. I'm still with you guys in heart and mind <3 :)

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  5. Hi Mya, It's really nice to see other young ladies being so passionate about birding - I'm a 15 year old birder, ringer & wildlife photographer in Hampshire. It's great that you are a part of NGB and I can't wait until you can join the NGB facebook page as I'm sure you will contribute loads of interesting stuff!! I look forward to meeting you out birding and maybe at some twitches in the future!
    All the best,
    Josie Hewitt
    http://blog.josiehewittphotography.co.uk/

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    1. Hi Josie, I love your blog - your photos are great! Make sure you say hello if you see me at a twitch, as it would be great to meet you. I really love being part of NGB and am looking forward to meeting lots of you.

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  6. Hi Mya,

    What an enjoyable and well written blog post! It is great to read of your adventures and see how passionate you are about birding and conservation!
    I have no doubt that your blog posts will inspire many others to take up birding! We need to encourage as many people as we can to take an interest in wildlife after all!
    I'm looking forward reading more of your birding adventures.

    Best wishes
    Tristan

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    1. Thanks! I would be so happy if my blog inspired anyone to do anything positive! More people need to be interested in wildlife, then things like badger culls will never happen :(

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  7. Hi Mya

    Beautifully written and what a lucky girl you are to visit so many places in the world. Conservation, recycling and just being thoughtful about our environment is so important. .like you said it's the only world we have., and you, all kids are are the ones being left to clean up the old generations mess. Well done x

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    1. Yes, the environment is so important. But very few people think like this (oil companies *nudge*). I'm still going to try and help though, if it's getting people at school interested or being in a protest with Greenpeace!

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  8. Hi Mya,

    Lovely to read your blog. Do you remember the Chew Valley Bioblitz? You helped me with taking casts of mammal footprints, then I met you at Shapwick a year or so later when you dissected an owl pellet. It's really encouraging to meet a young person who is so passionate about wildlife and the environment. People like you are our hope for the future.

    Gill

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    1. Gill, of course I remember you! I still have some of the animal casts from the Chew Valley Bio Blitz. I really enjoyed dissecting that owl pellet at the Avalon Marshes fun day. Hope to see you soon somewhere.

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  9. Holy cow that sounds crazy cool! I haven't even gone out of
    United States yet. In my school here in Oregon I am in a Sustainability Club that meets every week to green our school and help take care of the environment. It is very important to me too.

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    1. Hi Otto, or the local stuff is really important. Getting involved in your sustainability club it brilliant. There is always time to travel, I'm just lucky enough to get some of that out of the way early!

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Thank you for posting a comment. Please can you make sure that it is positive and is about me or my blog and not about promoting you or your business. Thanks. Mya-Rose Craig