Volunteer stories

Volunteer stories: John Saw

Saturday, 1 October 2022

  • Estimated reading time 5min

John Saw saw the birds on farms

John Saw, a Birds on Farms volunteer,  has been surveying and watching birds for years – recently reaching 600 different species. He has also been an invaluable volunteer within the BirdLife Ovens & Murray Branch.

How did you first get inspired by the birds?

JS: I became a birder at age 12, when my father came home for lunch and said a group of people had come to where he worked to see a rare bird, asking if I would like to go back with him to see it.  I did and the Black Redstart was my “first” bird.  In those days I had no binoculars and no camera, we were very poor, as that was London. Years later I am birding in Oz with bins and camera.

Some people often ask: “what is my favourite bird”?  There is no one answer; I have fond memories of seeing certain birds, e.g. the Harpy Eagle in the Amazon, 30 Wedgetail Eagles on a road kill in Queensland, or the Rufous Hummingbird in Alaska.  Many birds I like seeing all the time (Spinebill).

I do enjoy going to wetlands around the globe and we are fortunate in this region having so many.

Finally, BirdLife is constantly looking for volunteers to do Birds on Farms surveys.  Can you spare the time to do just one farm?  Birding is an enjoyable, healthy and important activity.  For me it all started with the Black Redstart.