Welcome to my very first blog post on my new website. My name is Eddie Kasper and I'm a young birder from Western Springs, IL a western suburb of Chicago. I have been birding since I was seven years old, but my interest in birding started a year earlier at a Waldorf school. In the Waldorf school curriculum, the first six years of school you spend almost an hour and a half each day outside, and the schools property was over 5 acres of forest, grassland, and a sledding bowl. The variety of birds was pretty good considering that I was a six year old birder who thought that Cedar Waxwings were a mega rarity, but every birder has got to start somewhere! After that I picked up my first bird book, Kenn Kaufman's Guide to Birds of North America, which you can buy here at http://www.kaufmanfieldguides.com/. He has been an inspiration ever since.
My first few years of birding were on my own. My parents and I did not know there was a whole world of unique individuals, young and old, who enjoyed birding, until one day I met Jeff Reiter. He leads bird walks at a place called Cantigny, in Warrenville, Illinois. He shared with me information about the Illinois Young Birders club. I was really exited to know that there were other young birders in this world, other than me. I signed up immediately and went on my first field trip a couple of months later, to a place called Starved Rock, in Central Illinois. After that trip, I knew birding was my thing. I went on practically every young birders' trip after that!
Only about a month after that trip to Starved Rock, my mom took us out of school, and I began to homeschool. Ever since then, I've been birding every single day I can. In spring and fall, my personal favorite birding location is probably Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, in Chicago. According to my eBird checklists, I have seen 151 different species of birds there (I've probably seen more).
I also bird my own neighborhood. I have seen everything from two Red Crossbills, to Whooping Cranes flying over (that my brother spotted), to multiple Connecticut Warblers. But trust me, the reason I've seen some of those birds is because it doesn't matter where I am, or what I'm doing, I'm always looking and listening for birds (even while playing sports.) For example, when I found the Red Crossbill, I was biking to my chemistry class at my friends house, and I heard at least two birds calling on my right. I stopped and looked over into a Red Cedar in one of the neighbors yards, and I saw the two birds, only for a brief moment, then they flew off and called again, reassuring me that they were Crossbills. That's just to show you, you can see a bird anywhere.
I hope you enjoy my website and blog! Stay tuned for more posts from me, the Kidbirder.
Thanks so much for reading!