Miramar family takes bird-watching to next level

Miramar family takes bird-watching to next level
Scott and Lucy Pearson

The Audubon prints in the dining room are a giveaway. Scott Pearson likes to watch birds. And, now his daughter, Lucy, does, too.

In January, the Miramar father and daughter watched the Steve Martin movie, “The Big Year,” which is a real-life story about the competition among three birding enthusiasts to see how many species they could see in a year. In the movie, the North American record was 748. It’s now up to 750.

After watching the movie with her dad, 9-year-old Lucy wondered how many she could see. And since the year had just begun, Scott and Lucy decided to find out.

Lucy thought 100 sounded like a good goal. Scott thought 200 was doable. As of June, they’ve seen 93. And that’s before a family vacation to Colorado.

This is a father-daughter adventure. Mom, Cindy, and sons, Andrew, 13, and Page, 11, think it’s kind of cool – sometimes.

So far, Lucy’s favorite bird is the American bald eagle, which she saw at Hendricks Elementary School, where she will be in fourth grade this fall. It so happens that the eagle is the school mascot.

The Pearsons use the Kaufman Field Guide to confirm their sightings and then record them in a wire-bound notebook.

Many of the birds on their list they’ve seen on walks around San Marco and in a field off San Jose Boulevard near the baseball practice fields.

Scott said he didn’t realize how many kinds of birds were in the neighborhood, where they’ve lived for five years, until he started using a binocular.

“I’ve watched birds for many, many years. Little birds that look the same 20 yards away are entirely different when you seem them through the binocular,” he said.

That’s how he discovered a blackpoll warbler, which migrates from Brazil, in his backyard. And then there was the summer tanager he saw in a field near his church, Mandarin Baptist.

“I thought it was a cardinal at first, but then it lighted about 25 yards away,” he said.

Though they haven’t taken any trips just for birding, there have been plenty of family excursions:

  • A trip to Cocoa for a baseball tournament came with the opportunity to stop at Canaveral National Seashore where they saw a Florida scrub jay and a glossy ibis.
  • Lucy’s class went on a field trip to the Alligator Farm where she saw a roseate spoonbill along with egrets and herons.
  • A spring break trip to Blue Springs near Deland was rewarded with sightings of a Sandhill crane and wild turkeys.
  • Wakulla Springs added lots of water birds to the list.

The summer trip to Colorado, which will include a visit to Poudre Canyon, has all kinds of opportunities. Scott hopes to see hummingbirds found only out West like the broad-tailed and Rufous. Lucy wants to see a road runner.

“We’ve had a lot of fun,” Scott said. “And we could see all kinds of migrating birds this fall.”

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