Saturday, April 10, 2010

An Incentive Plan

From the Warbler Capital of the World, Kimberly Writes: Really good motivational speakers make a ton of money by finding ways to inspire people to live better and do more. At Black Swamp Bird Observatory where I'm the executive director, I am always trying to find ways to support and encourage the BSBO team, made up of the finest people on the planet. This group of people just "doing what they do" is enough to inspire me to give all that I can possibly give to birds and bird conservation. I'm also blessed with a husband who not only understands and supports my passion, but shares it---and then some!

But, at BSBO, a nonprofit with limited resources, I often find myself searching for ways to inpsire the staff. No one there makes much money and thankfully, none of them have aspirations of getting rich at this whole bird thing. Everyone at BSBO works super hard, and they overlook the challenges of a cramped workspace, a lot of "antique" office equipment (which is a nice way of saying, Crappy!), low salaries with no benefits, and putting up with me and my hyperactive approach to life. So what can I offer them as an incentives package? What kind of bonus could I give to keep them inspired enough to put up with all the icky stuff and continue to help share BSBO's mission to promote bird conservation through research and education...

Allow me introduce the BSBO Incentive Package: Magnolia Warblers come through Lake Erie Marsh Region (BSBO's "backyard") by the bucket loads! From the first white-spotted tail fan to the last, my eyes never get tired of worshipping Maggies! A few years ago, at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory's primary banding station in Northwest Ohio, we had a monster day, banding more than 1100 birds. I sat in one spot all day, banding nothing but Magnolia Warblers (MAWA in bander's alpha code) and American Redstarts (AMRE). When it was over, my official MAWA banding tally for the day was 391!

Using alpha codes is a great way to take field notes. It takes a while to learn them, but once you do, it makes taking notes much faster and easier. Here's a link to the alpha codes for Ohio Birds, courtesy of BSBO.

As you can see, I'm starting out with the basic level incentives package by sharing the more "common" warblers. Yellow-rumped Warbler is soon to be split by the AOU, so we'll get to start officially calling the ones in the east "Myrtle Warblers" again! Bird banders use the alpha code for Myrtle Warbler (MYWA). Myrtle's come through this area in massive numbers. There are so many, in fact, that some birders will eventually start to say things like, " Oh, never mind, it's just another Yellow-rumped." But, do me a favor. Even if you've seen a bazillion Yellow-rumpeds and you think you REALLY know this bird, I want you to close your eyes and describe the details of its plumage to me. Describe the finer nuances of its field marks. Now, don't cheat! Jot them down on a piece of paper if you'd like, but challenge yourself to see just how well you really know this stunning little bird. I bet you'll be surprised. And, the next time you see a "Butter Butt" as they're often affectionately called, you'll want to spend a little bit more time getting to know this little beauty!

Every incentives package needs an "awwww" factor, right?
Here's ours, one of my all-time faves, the adorable little Wilson's Warbler (WIWA). Awwww, isn't he just the cutest little thing?!

The Chestnut-sided Warbler (CSWA) is one of my favorites
because of the way it changes its look in the fall!
Check out page 319 in the
Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America for a peek at the CSWA's extreme fall makeover!
Ya gotsta love a bird with a nice fall eye ring!

The eyepopping Cape May Warbler (CMWA). know, I think this might be my favorite warbler.
Well, at least for today.
; )

There's something about a Canada Warbler (CAWA) that makes me whisper when I say its name. Oh look, a beautiful Canada Warbler... I'm not sure how to explain it, but something about this bird completely captivates me. Okay, maybe the
Canada Warbler is my favorite today...

Zee Zee Zee Zee Zee Zee Zoo Zee...
With their upbeat, buzzy song, Black-throated Green Warblers (BTNW) are always a good source inspiration! Here's a little bird banding quiz for you: Can you think of a reason why the apha code for this bird is
BTNW and not BTGW?

So, what does a nonprofit executive director do to motivate the team on the days when the copier is eating paper, the network drive crashes,
the UPS Dude doesn't come, the toilet won't flush, and everyone is feeling like the (EAKI) in the photo on the left looks?

I just remind them that THIS bird is part of the BSBO's world!

This is the BSBO Blackburnian Warbler (BLBW)
Incentives Package - Premium Plan!

And, lest you think we're only about warblers, here's my most favorite sparrow--at least in the looks category. I love the soft and sweet facial expression of Lincoln's Sparrows (LISP). Don't you?!

Yes, in the looks category, I love Lincoln's Sparrows the most. But the White-throated Sparrow (WTSP) definitely has it beat in the song category. Why? Check out page 358 in your Kaufman Bird Guide to find out the answer! ; )

So, these are just a few of the birds that inpsire us at BSBO.
I'd love to hear what birds inpsire you the most, and why?! Tell us here on the blog, become a fan of
BSBO on facebook and tell us there, or BOTH!! : )