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DVOC Main Page > Our Members > Frank Windfelder
Frank Windfelder -
|In my Philadelphia youth, I was concerned with
playing handball in my alley more than anything else, and of course girls
got my attention. I knew what “Pigeons” and “English Sparrows”
were, and that was about it. At the age of 35, and still single, I had moved
to a new apartment, where there were actually things called “trees”
One day, I saw a Blue Jay on a fence. I was awe-struck by its beauty. Then one moon lit summer night, I heard a Northern Mockingbird in full song outside my window. It was the most enchanting sound I had ever heard. I was amazed at the bird’s repertoire. It went on and on for at least an hour. I was hooked!
I purchased “Birds of North America” (the old Golden Guide) in a bookstore. I was floored when I noticed that the range maps actually indicated that many of the birds occurred around here. I didn’t have to go to Africa to see wildlife! Anyway, I picked up a cheap pair of binoculars and I was off and running. I studied the guide religiously, went out into likely habitats such as Tinicum National Environmental Center, and tried to match the birds I saw to the pictures in the book. It was four years before I realized there were other birders.
One day in May 1981, when I was car-less, I actually biked 22 miles from Northeast Philadelphia to Ridley Creek State Park. I ran into ex-DVOC Presidents Harry Todd and Steve Wing. They were doing their traditional May Run. They let me tag along with them at Ridley Creek, where I got an unforgettable lifer, a Cerulean Warbler. They even put my bike in the trunk of their car and took me to Tinicum. I had a total of 4 lifers that day, and the 17 mile bike ride back home didn’t seem bad at all.
I can tell you right now that Harry is responsible for the downfall of the DVOC, because he invited me to a meeting. I fell in with the Al Kronschnabel birding crowd, stayed around, and the club has never been the same since.