Thursday, February 10, 2011

Birder Profile: Linda Rockwell

Linda Rockwell
Corrales, New Mexico

How did you get into birding? Did you or do you have a birding mentor and can you tell us about that person? Did you have a “spark bird”?

My parents loved birds and bird watching. We always had bird feeders outside, and hummingbird feeders too. I suppose that watching the Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the feeders at my family’s house in Roswell sparked my interest in birding.

How long have you been birding?

Informally from the time I knew what birds were. Semi-seriously for about two years.

How often do you go birding? And where do you regularly go birding?

I try to go birding at least once each week. Some of my favorite places are Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and the nearby Sandia Mountains and foothills.

Where is your favorite place to bird in your state/province? In the U.S.? in the world?

Bosque del Apache is my favorite place in New Mexico. I am not experienced enough to have a favorite place elsewhere, although I love birding in Southern Arizona and Florida.

Do you have any local birding hotspots that may be yet unknown to other birders that you would be willing to share with us?

The Belen Marsh, also known as the Taco Bell Marsh, can be outstanding.

Where in your state/province would you say is the most under-birded place that may have great untapped potential?

In my opinion there is great birding in Southeastern New Mexico. It is a short-grass prairie setting, and there are opportunities to see birds that you don’t otherwise see in New Mexico. Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the Clovis sewage lagoons are off the beaten path and can produce wonderful birds.

How would you describe yourself as a birder? A “watcher”, a “lister”, a “chaser”, all of the above, or something else?

Is there such a thing as a social birder? I believe that’s my category.

What kind of birding equipment do you use?

I have Canon camera equipment and a pair of Pentax binoculars. I don’t own a spotting scope.

How do you keep track of your bird observations?

I don’t keep track. I’m basically a social birder and an amateur photographer.

What is your favorite bird sighting and what is the story behind it?

That would have to be the first time I saw the Rosy Finches at Sandia Crest. I was alone on the deck on a beautiful, sunshiny day. Over 100 Rosy Finches came to the feeders on the deck and swarmed all around me. I took some photos and then put my camera down to enjoy the beauty of the birds.

Which birding publications and websites do you read and recommend?

I consult the Arizona-New Mexico Birding List to decide where I want to go. I also consult for identification help.

Which is your favorite field guide and why?

I use Sibley’s because my friend Roberta gave it to me, and it’s the only guide I have.

If a fellow birder had a question about a bird, do you consider yourself an expert (or at least proficient) on any specific family of birds?

I’m pretty good with quail.

What future birding plans do you have?

I am going to Bosque del Apache this weekend. I just got back from the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. I hope to go to the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in November. There will be lots of birding between now and then, I hope.

What is your nemesis bird?

Owls. Any owl. I could not get a decent photo of an owl if you put a gun to my head.

Anything about your family you’d like to share with us?

I have a 24-year-old son and a 26-year-old foster son who are the delights of my life. I have three doggies whom I spoil horribly. Other than that, I don’t really have any family.

Outside of birding, what are your other interests or hobbies?

I love skiing, fly fishing and snorkeling.

Any funny birding experiences you could tell us?

Well, there was the time I almost froze to death trying to get my lovely Stevie Ray Vaughn commemorative Texas Hatter’s cowboy hat out of a frozen pond at Bosque del Apache.

If you were a bird, which species would you be and why?

Who wouldn’t want to be a hummingbird?

Anything else that you would like to humbly brag about?

I’m a wonderful cook. Really.

Most exotic place you’ve gone birding?

Kaua’i, over Christmas vacation this year.

Your mission in life as birder?

To enjoy every minute, of course.

Follow Linda's blog Photo Feathers to keep up with her birding adventures and photography. You can also follow her on Twitter @lrockwellatty

Birder Profile is a weekly blog segment at "Birding is Fun!" spotlighting a fellow birder. If you would be interested in sharing a little about yourself and your birding experiences, please send me an email. Is there a birder you'd like to see featured? Please nominate that person by sending me an e-mail too. Enthusiasm for birding is the only prerequisite!


  1. It's always a joy to read Linda's Photo Feathers blog and view the beautiful images she captures. Wonderful profile!

  2. Thanks for the little peek into Linda's life. I enjoy her posts and her tweets.