My Story – Melinda


Melinda & Jenny

I never met my Great Granddad Peder Pedersen, but my love of birds comes down through him, through my mom, Judy. My Danish great-grandparents, Peder and Mariane, would gather all the grandchildren on their Idaho Falls, Idaho lawn in the evenings and identify all of the birds that would fly by.  Mom loved the Common Nighthawks.

In the late 1960s, Mom would check out birding guides out of the library in Wilmette, Illinois and identify the new backyard birds she was seeing — Cardinals and Blue Jays.

It wasn’t until we moved up to the Menan Buttes in Idaho that she became a birder. I read once that where we lived had the most avian diversity in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Whether that’s true or not, there are a lot of birds near the Snake River. Pulling off to the side of the road became commonplace, and we were all tortured to be so very close to home while she would struggle with her guide and identify a Loggerhead Shrike.

cropped ruddyduck
Ruddy Duck
Then I started 7th grade. To get to the Roberts school in Roberts, Idaho the bus or Mom would drive me through part of the Market Lake Wildlife Management area. More stopping to identify birds would happen and then, even worse, she would go into the refuge. This would take forever, but then I started to like birding.  I started to identify Cinnamon Teal on the way to school. Mom and I would go early into Market Lake to see the Eared Grebes and Ruddy Ducks.
Painted Bunting 

Now, I live in a completely different environment along the Central Flyway here in Texas.  I love it. I love to go out by myself and find Painted Buntings, or take Mom with me and see Yellow-billed Cuckoos and identify flowers. I look forward to see what we find next.

— Melinda
Painted Bunting photo from