Monday, June 28, 2010

An Interview with Ann Johnson: Part 1

You’ve described yourself as a birder gone bad; in other words, you've switched loyalties from birds to dragonflies. How did this happen?
Actually, that’s my little attempt at humor. I am still very much a birder. Most birders, however, find the lull in activity between the end of breeding season and fall migration to be a perfect season to still get outdoors and really pay special attention to other critters in this big old world of ours. Butterflies and dragonflies, more winged creatures, are a logical extension of a birder’s curiosity. Some of my birding friends roll their eyes while others have jumped on the bandwagon and frequently send me photos to help with identification. Birders really are expanding their horizons.

What other insects or plants or animals are you especially interested in?
Most of my life I have been a birder, and birds will always have a special place in my life. The expansion to learning about the Odonata has also triggered a new awareness of such things as butterflies, robber flies, bees, etc. The summer I spent working on a project with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources opened my eyes to the world of herps, and the field techs actually got a photo of me holding a snake. I never thought that would happen but I now find myself trying to identify snakes, frogs, and anything else I encounter. Mammals are also fascinating, and I am still trying to see my first Iowa bobcat. Someday I really want to encounter a mountain lion, preferably at a safe distance!

Ann Johnson, Dragonflies and Damselflies in Your Pocket: A Guide to the Odonates of the Upper Midwest

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