Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and the Media

“Twitchers: A Very British Obsession” – A BBC Four Documentary

In 2009, we were filmed over 9 days for a BBC Four documentary called “Twitchers: A very British Obsession” which I loved filming.  It was shown in November 2010 and we watched it at school with all my friends; they thought it was funny that I was filmed sleeping in the car.  All our friends (who actually know me) loved the programme and said that I was really lovely.  The programme tried to make out that I was bored birding but that’s not true.  It was just that I was 7 years old and could be silly sometimes. I loved seeing the birds - when they came into view.  You can’t always be good ;-)

To those who were mean about me on the internet:

  1. Ripping up leaves is not a sign of boredom in a young child.  It is called “engaging with nature”;
  2. Any conversation on TV involving a young child (especially one who likes the limelight) and their much older sister should not be taken seriously.  It is called “being cheeky”;
  3. When considering whether a young child is interested in birding, they should be observed when the bird is there, not when it is not;
  4. Remember that sometimes when a child is saying “I’m hungry” they actually mean “Please can I have the chocolate bar stashed in your pocket”;
  5. Do not believe everything that you see on TV; it is edited to be a good TV programme not to show real life.  Any fool (including some birders) should be able to see that;
  6. Do not assume that the young child has no friends and has no time to spend with those friends.  If you want to know, ask before you make assumptions.  In fact, in 2009, I did not miss a single birthday party or outing;
  7. Do not assume that the child is unable to make a choice and would rather be at home, watching TV.  I might have been seven, and surprising as it is to some people, I actually loved birding at age 7 years old and still do;
  8. Actually, don’t make assumptions at all.

This is a link to a 16 minute “Birdgirl” cut of the programme.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in a publicity photo for 
BBC 4 Documentary 
Twitchers: A Very British Obsession, October 2009

Chew Valley Gazette

There was an article in the Chew Valley Gazette in December 2010, after the BBC 4 documentary was shown.  It’s my local newspaper.

February 2013’s Chew Valley Gazette has a large photograph of me with Crimson Rosella, with a heading "Birdgirl spots 3000th bird".  It’s taken at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia.  There is also a half page article about my birding and 3000th world bird, Regent Bowerbird.  A bowerbird creates a bower out of sticks and then decorates it to attract females.  It was a great 3000th bird.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with some friendly 
Crimson Rosella at Lamington National Park, 
Queensland, Australia, July 2013
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

I also have my own column in the Chew Valley Gazette.  It is on birding, wildlife, ringing and conservation in the Chew Valley area together with some tales from twitching and trips abroad.  I hope to use the column to get local people, particularly children, interested in birding and wildlife as well as environmental issues relevant to the Chew Valley, like fracking.

Media Attention

One of the leading optics manufacturers, Swarovski Optik, wrote about me on their blog.  It is about me hitting 3000 birds, a world record for my age.  

I also hold the British record for the youngest person to see 400 birds (when I was 9 years old), beating my sister’s (Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza) record by 3 years. 

It was a flattering article and it was brilliant because lots of people have looked at it and posted encouraging comments on the Swarovski Optik Blog, including lots of British Birders. So far there have been 775 comments! What was also amazing was that lots of Bird Guides and World Birders that I have met and birded with abroad also commented about my birding. It was particularly great to read these comments.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with her Swarovski Optik CL Companions 10 x 30 B binoculars, July 2013

Here are some of the comments posted on the Swarovski Optik Blog from World Birders and Guides:

Kenn Kaufman – USA Birder
Posted on February 15, 2014, 20:38

Well done, Mya-Rose! As you've seen for yourself, travel can be incredibly educational. And when you travel to seek birds, it gets you away from the tourist spots and out into areas where you can really learn about geography, ecosystems, climate, natural resources, and biology, as well as the lives and customs of the local people. So your 3000-plus bird species represent a huge amount of education that you've earned already! Kudos to your parents for having the wisdom to see the value in this travel, and kudos to Swarovski for being supportive of your quest. We will look forward to hearing about your further adventures!

 Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig's plan for a 6 month trip 
(prepared in November 2011) - Part 1
Planning included looking at Bird Tour Brochures to 
decide where to go, looking at maps to work out the 
order of countries to visit 
and then allowing time for seeing family
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig's plan for a 6 month trip 
(prepared in November 2011) - part 2
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Mount Hypapamee, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia, August 2013
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

 Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig studying during a long 
drive in Bolivia, June 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

In Peru, I met someone who was in his forties and had a HUGE world list. It made me realise that to do a lot of trips, you have to focus on what you want to do. It was extra special to have the following comment made by him, knowing that I was able to keep up with the pace of a big World Birder. 

Andy Marshall – World Birder who birded with us in Peru for 1 week
Posted on January 23, 2014, 20:23

Well done Mya, keep it up, there's plenty more to go for! Had a very enjoyable week with you and your folks in Peru.

Andy Marshall, Mum and Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Bosque Unchog, Central Peru, where we camped at 3,800m to see the endemic Golden-backed Mountain Tananger (which we had great views of)
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Simon Bishop – Former editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine
Posted on March 12, 2014, 13:26

Mya's dedication to what she loves best is an inspiration to all of us. Hopefully she can go on to become a great ambassador for our threatened wildlife, and remind us that the natural world not only provides us with the raw materials we need for our lives, but is also vital for our emotional and spiritual well-being.

Taken in the Yellow-Headed Picathartes village, 
Ghana - where a conservation project is working 
well to conserve the habitat and to provide 
an education to the local children
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Andres Vasquez - Guide in Ecuador
Posted on January 27, 2014, 00:33

I had the great luck to guide Mya and her dad and mom during their visit to Ecuador; it was a great trip with almost 700 spp recorded in about 22 days. Mya spotted the Andean Condor and several other nice birds. I will never forget her beautiful smile when she would see a species she wanted. She for sure will be one of the greatest birders of our generation. Andres Vasquez - Tropical Birding Tours (

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in the
Amazon, Ecuador, August 2010

Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Trevor Ellery - Guide in Colombia
Posted on March 30, 2014, 18:31

Hi Mya, Great birding with you in Colombia and really impressed to see how you coped with some of the trials and tribulations, including the 12 hour walk to see the Baudo Oropendola, the two-day wait for see the Gorgeted Wood Quail and the occasionally delayed and/or cancelled flights. Oh and of course the Spiders! I think with your patience, tenacity, quick eye and sense of humor you have a great future as a world class birder. I thoroughly enjoyed your company and look forward to birding with you again in the future. Best Wishes Trevor Ellery (

Avery Bartels – Guide in Colombia
Posted on February 16, 2014, 06:29

Hi Mya, I remember birding with you in Colombia. It was great to be a part of your march to get past 3000! I wish you all the best in the future which I am sure will be bright. Here's to you and your next 3000! (

Digby Munns, my Mum Helena Craig, 
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Avery Bartels 
at Fuertes' Parrot Reserve, Colombia, March 2012 
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig 

Digby Munns - World Birder who birded with us in Colombia for 4 weeks
Posted on January 14, 2014, 20:56

Having shared four weeks of Mya's South American adventure (in Columbia), I particularly remember the fleeting view her Swarovski's gave her of the wonderful White-tipped Sicklebill that gripped off mum and dad!

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Fuertes' Parrot
Reserve, Colombia, March 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Albert & Eleanor Wright (The Gypsy Twitchers) - Birders who we met and birded with in Australia
Posted on January 15, 2014, 00:25

We met Mya-Rose with her parents at the AWC Bowra Sanctuary in Queensland and shared a mornings birding with them. The excitement of the hunt for a Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush was surpassed with her delight in the final sighting.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with her dad at AWC BOWRA Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia, August 2013
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Sayam Chowdhury – Top Bangladeshi Birder
Posted on February 13, 2014, 04:15

Great going Mya! So proud that a Bangladeshi girl saw 3000 species, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Masked Finfoot are waiting to greet you here!

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with her mum at WWT Slimbridge with Nigel Jarrett and Sayam U Chowdhury
Photograph taken and copyright Chris Craig

Julian Thomas – British Birder and Twitcher
Posted on January 31, 2014, 02:29

Hi Mya-Rose! I could embarrass you by saying the first time I saw you, you were just nine days old, being shown off by your proud parents at Chew Valley Lake. But you have grown in so many ways since then, and I followed your family posts during your mega South America trip avidly. I even followed in your footsteps to Queensland (including Mt Hypipamee) last autumn - a brilliant place to bird as you know, and yes, my Swaro scope helped me out a lot. I'm doing all right but Birdgirl rules! - you're still 400+ species ahead of me on World list.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with her big sister, Ayesha and dad twitching the Isles of Scilly at 9 days old, May 2002 (and meeting Julian Thomas and lots of other British Twitchers)
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

I know I am really lucky to have such a fantastic pair of binoculars, but they are the same price as having an Xbox 360 and a laptop, which lots of children my age have.

The Daily Mail On-line - the most read news internet site in the World

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, July 2013

Then in February 2014, lots of local papers printed articles about me, including a large front page photograph of me in the Chew Valley Gazette and large photos in The Western Daily Press (a Bristol paper) and The Bath Chronicle.    This was followed by an article in The Metro nationwide and a really long article in the Daily Mail on-line with lots of photographs.  It was an amazing piece which led to lots of on-line news coverage all over the world, as far as USA and Australia.

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Machu Picchu,
Peru, August 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Live Interview on ITV News West

I also gave live interviews on ITV West News, BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Radio Somerset.  I loved doing these and think I performed well.  The link to the live ITV West News interview is as follows:

In April 2014, I attended a conference at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) held jointly with A Focus on Nature (AFON) and gave a talk about World Birding.  This was in front of about 50 people, including the Chief Executive of the BTO Dr Andy Clements.  I was really pleased with how it went.  It was much more nerve-racking than being on TV! More about that next week.

A Bird Ringing (Bird Banding) demonstration by Jez Blackburn
at the BTO/AFON Conference, April 2013
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig standing centrally

Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

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