Being published in Red Sixty Seven – Curated by Kit Jewitt & Published by the BTO

Being published in Red Sixty Seven – Curated by Kit Jewitt & Published by the BTO

This book is the idea of Kit Jewitt

I am really proud to have written about Yellowhammer in this book, one that should not exist. Also thank you to Ben Woodhams for his beautiful artwork. Our bird populations are declining at speed. Lots of birds have stopped breeding in the UK and we must act to stop this. Thank you so much to Kit Jewitt for inviting me to contribute.

67 conservationists and artists wrote about the 67 birds on the UK red data birds with the money going back to the British Trust for Ornithology and RSPB. As one of the few recent young people to obtain a BTO bird ringing licence when turning 16 years old, I continue to be a BTO ringing member. This year I and Black2Nature are organising camps for VME young people in partnership with the RSPB and I hope to continue that partnership.

The 67 authors and artists include many of my birding friends including Nick Baker, Patrick Barkham, Anne Cleeves, Mark Cocker, David Darrell-Lambert, Mike Dilger, Ben Garrod, Ben Hoare, Dr Robert Lambert, Miranda Krestovnikoff, Luke Massey, Dara McAnulty, Lucy McRobert, Stephen Moss, Chris Packham and Lolo Williams.

In 2018 and 2019 I helped present a TV documentary for French and German broadcasters ARD/Arte “Missing – Where have all the birds gone” about the decline of farmland and grassland bird species. I interviewed several experts and it was shocking to find out about the decline of 40 million European birds in the last 30 years. This Covid-19 European lockdown has demonstrated how nature can come back if we give it space and how things must change in the future.

If you have not read it yet, please get a copy, and help save our birds which you can get at Red-67-the-boo

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Birdwatch Magazine – Birders Choice Awards 2019

Birdwatch Magazine – Birders Choice Awards 2019

Birdwatch Magazine’s Birder’s Choice Awards are the most prestigious in the UK.

Back in 2015 I was nominated for the Blogger of the Year Awards and came second to the high profile conservationist (and ex-senior staff at the RSPB) I was really pleased with that, especially as it was only my second year of blogging and I was still only 13 years old.

I was therefore stunned to be included in the 2019 award nominations in the Conservationist of the Year category. This is the most high profile category and was won by Chris Packham last year. This year was me with Greta Tunberg, Sir David Attenborough and George Monbiot. It was incredible to be listed with these amazing people and I was beyond excited and proud. I didn’t even know until someone tweeted me to say good luck and remind everyone that I was the only birder out of these three. I didn’t think that mattered, they had done fantastic work.

I was nominated for my diversity campaigning which was really important to me as it meant that the message had got across that this was not something that was a side issue, it was central to conservation as we would never get a sustainable planet without everyone on board.

I didn’t expect anyone to vote for me and to ask seemed rude and inappropriate, taking into account who I was up against.

1.  Conservation Hero of the Year Mya-Rose Craig known as Birdgirl, this 17-year-old activist and naturalist has been campaigning for more diversity in birding, organising nature camps for teenagers

The results came out in January 2020. I hadn’t asked anyone to vote for me but I think some of my following in Bangladesh might have voted for me. As predicted and deserved, Greta Thunberg won the Conservationist of the year category but I was done as well as Sir David  Attenborough. “There really was only going to be one winner this year. While both David Attenborough and Mya-Rose Craig put up a good fight, Greta Thunberg took the honours with more than a third of the votes”.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me. I really appreciate your support especially as I have lots of birder trolls on social media.

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Top of Surfbirds

Top of Surfbirds

In February 2019 I saw my 5000th bird in the world, using the IOC world bird list. My 5000th bird was a Rock Bunting which I saw in Aragon, Spain. It was a really special moment, as for me it represents 5,000 beautiful birds, 5,000 birding experiences and 5,000 amazing places. The number just represents all of that in one word.

I am the youngest person in the world to see that many birds and this is the list of young birders on a listing page on a website called Surfbirds. It was quite a fantastic feeling to finally reach the top of it.

Surfbirds Young Birders World List

 

Surfbirds Young Birders World List

 

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5000 birds around the world in 16 years

5000 birds around the world in 16 years

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding Castillo de Loarre, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



The main reason we were going anywhere in February half term 2019 was to go to Spain to practise my Spanish as I hadn’t been able to go on the school trip. We weren’t expecting to see a massive amount of birds as the last time my parents had gone (in 2004 when I was 1 1/2 years) there had been awful weather with very bad snow and there hadn’t been many birds there at all. 

 
But the first day was very good, so we were surprised straight away. We drove out to some fields only a few miles out of Madrid and started scanning. Within a couple of hours, we had seen a pair of Spanish Imperial Eagle with a nest, Calandra Lark, and up to 30 Great Bustard! As well as lots of other birds as well – including Black Vulture, a new bird for my mum. 

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding in Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

 
On our second day, Saturday, we went to El Planeron to look for Dupont’s Lark. We saw lots of Short Toed Lark immediately and really well. We then saw Black Sandgrouse and Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse within ten minutes of each other and we were celebrating our luck. The Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse was a new bird for both me and my mum too. I managed to see them both really well and even grab some dodgy photos. After a few hours of trawling, I was beginning to lose hope of seeing our rare lark when we saw a bird perched upon a bush through the heat haze. I hurried to get the scope out and lo and behold it was the Dupont’s Lark! Not the best views but definitely one.



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding El Planeron, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding El Planeron, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding El Planeron, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding El Planeron, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
On Sunday the tables turned, though. We tried lots of different sights looking for Wallcreeper, Bonelli’s Eagle, and more, but nothing turned up. In fact, we didn’t see much of anything that day. I was a little worried too; at this point, my world list was on 4998 and I really wanted Wallcreeper to be my 5000th, but I needed to somehow only see one more bird before magically finding myself a wallcreeper. 
 
Monday morning we went to Castillo de Loarre, in Arogan, to try and find an Alpine Accentor as it was supposed to be a really good sight for them. There was no sign of them, but we did spot Rock Sparrow pretty quickly in the castle itself. We were walking back to the car when a few birds flew along the tree line, and so we had to investigate. After a few minutes of walking around in the scrub, a male Rock Bunting flew out in full view onto a bush. It was perched up for several minutes with a few females flitting around it, and once it had finally flown away I cheered silently. It had been my 5000th bird in the world! Although I had been hoping for the Wallcreeper I wasn’t at all disappointed with the Rock Bunting, in fact, I was very pleased with it. 5000 is a bid deal for me because I’ve been working towards it for years at it’s almost half of the birds of the world and I’m the youngest person to see so many. 



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding Castillo de Loarre, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding Castillo de Loarre, Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Rock Bunting at Castillo de Loarre, Spain

Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

I am incredibly lucky to be able to travel to conservation projects around the world and hope that by highlighting these projects and the species they are protecting I am giving something back. From a birding point of view, it was absolutely incredible seeing my 5000th world bird species especially such a stunning bird as a Rock Bunting. That number represents to me 5000 beautiful birds, 5000 beautiful places and 5000 beautiful experiences.
Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding in Spain
Copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

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Chosen as one of the world’s best birding blogs of 2017

Chosen as one of the world’s best birding blogs of 2017

I love writing my blog, that’s why I do it. I like writing about anything I want to. It is amazing that lots of people around the world like to read it and that my blog is coming up to 2 million views. That is just astonishing. Sometimes I try to work out how many different people that is, but I have no idea.

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig on the front cover of Friends of the Earth Magazine Earthwise
Copyright Friends of the Earth UK

It was lovely to receive an e-mail from a USA birder and blogger who writes the Bird Watching HQ blog letting me know that he had included my blog in his list of Best Birding Blogs of 2017. He had only listed one other blog from the UK blog and the rest were from the USA. Thank you very much, that’s brilliant. This is the link to his blog post – http://birdwatchinghq.com/bestblogs/.

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig at The Grand Canyon, Sierra Navana, USA August 2016Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig with Yve Morrell (left) ABA Big Year Contestant 2017 http://thedancingbirder.com
(Photo taken  in Arizona in August 2016 when Eve was in practice)
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

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