Notes from the Bird(er) of the Year

ABA Bird(er) of the Year

Hello all, NBB here. Sharon is in deadline mode, and has asked me to fill in for her. As I have received many thousands of questions about my recent honor, I thought it best to simply post the entirety of my speech here. Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the board, Mister President, Your Majesty.

Thank you for attending this gala to celebrate the first time I have been awarded the American Birding Association Bill Stiteler Award for Birder of the Year. This is award is a great honor, not just for me, but for the ABA, and indeed, all of humanity back to and including cavemen, who painted their walls with crude drawings of the birds and possibly dragons they saw soaring high above, creating the first field guides and no doubt the first argument over whether Grog saw a Yellow Chested Uuuugh Uuuugh or a Chestnut-Sided Graaaaah. In those savage days, birding arguments were settled with a sharp rock to the back of the head.

So really, not much has changed. But I digress.

When those Neanderthal-citizen-scientists stared in wonder at the creatures who were not tethered to the earth, they, like us, dreamed of understanding those awe-inspiring creatures, just as they, like us, also dreamed that one day the American Birding Association would give me this award.

It has not been an easy road to this honor that I so richly deserve. Some have said that my relatively recent entry into the birding world, lack of extensive bird knowledge, mocking stance towards birders, and general disinterest in birdwatching itself should have precluded me from winning this award, let alone having it named after me. Well, here I stand before you, wrapped in glory as very definitely the most important birder of this epoch. And where are the naysayers? Lying in a ditch somewhere with a sharp rock in the back of the head.

Birding faces many challenges in the year ahead, not the least of which is the birdwatchers themselves. As we have seen time and time again, fragmentation of the community of birders can only lead to petty squabbles that distract us from the truly important issues of conservation, appreciation, and promotion of the hobby. It is my hope the birdwatchers will set aside the things that divide us and instead choose to focus on the things that unite us.

Namely, me. Because in honoring yours truly, Bill Stiteler, as the recipient of the Bill Stiteler Award for Birder of the Year, the ABA has shown that there are some issues that we can all agree on, like how much I really, really, really, really deserved this. Let us all walk hand in hand into this new Golden Age of Birding, and also make the award bigger when you give it to me again next year.

I thank you.