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Sunday, 9 June 2019

My Good Friend, Eden Suderman

     I would like to introduce all of you to my good friend, Eden Suderman.



     Perhaps you are curious, as I was when I first met Eden, about her unusual name. Eden's mother, Rebecca, told me the story. On 1 January 2006, having flown to Florida overnight, a pregnant Rebecca woke up to what she deemed to be an earthly paradise. She told her husband that if the baby was a girl she wanted to call her Eden, because she felt they had started the year in an earthly paradise.
     Eden was born in July of that year. And the world has been a better place ever since.
     It seems that Eden and Nature writ large were destined to be firm companions. She has interacted with creatures as disparate as frogs, toads and newts, to Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and Monarchs (Danaus plexippus). On a visit to Costa Rica she fed monkeys, sloths, anteaters and porcupines at an animal rescue centre. 
     I met Eden when she came to SpruceHaven to observe our bird banding operation. From that first moment, and on numerous repeat visits, she made it clear that she wanted to be more involved, and craved hands-on activity, not mere observation.
     Just a week ago Eden came out to help me to monitor one of our Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) colonies. And help she did. She followed instructions well, climbed the ladder and slugged it along to the next nest, went up to check the nest with mirror and light in hand, and worked indefatigably. Furthermore, she got the hang of it instantly and showed herself to be a true wildlife custodian.
     But best of all she became my friend. The span of years between us evaporated before our eyes; she is a great companion, a pal to chat with, a supreme helper anxious to pitch in and do her part, a joy to cherish a wildlife moment with, a person who understands the sheer magic of contact with a wild creature, and she recognizes the importance of helping our fellow inhabitants of this Earth we share together. 
     Today she was back for more. But this time do the weekly check of all our bird houses to track the activity going on within.
     The first order of business was to examine the contents of a box we had erected in the driveway in the hope of attracting Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio).



     While we have succeeded in providing a winter roosting place for this diminutive owl, it has not remained to breed in any of our boxes. Often the space is usurped by non-native Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and we toss out any attempts at nest construction each week before this invasive species has a chance to get established. Today the box was empty.
     It was onward to inspect the nest boxes of Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), Eastern Bluebird (Sialis sialia) and Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor). Eden was thrilled to find a chickadee sitting on eggs at the first box she opened. 
     She wasted no time in checking bird house after bird house, climbing the ladder and unscrewing the entrance panel into the box.



     She was excited to see the nest below, originally begun by an Eastern Bluebird as revealed by the foundation, but taken over by a Tree Swallow, and containing a clutch of Tree Swallow eggs.



     Later she would have the thrilling experience of a Tree Swallow brooding her clutch and allowing Eden to very gently lift her up to count the young. Such encounters do not leave one unmoved and Eden's face was aglow with the sheer magic of it all.
     The woodlot at this time of the year is alive with biting insects and I told Eden that she should wait for me in the open, while I went ahead to face the voracious swarms. They were not quite as bad as I had thought, however, and Eden ventured down to have her first look at the nest of a House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) with eggs.
     We checked another screech owl nest box and tossed out the beginnings of a starling nest.





     Our final round of nest box inspections was on the north side of the property where we found the young of both Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds.




      It is difficult for me to express adequately how pleased I am to see dedication of this magnitude in a young person. As someone who has been involved with wildlife since my earliest memories, it is gratifying to see the torch being passed in this way. 
     Thank you for allowing me to share this experience with you, Eden. And thank you Rebecca for all the sterling qualities you portray and the encouragement and support you give to Eden.
     I am indeed humbled by this friendship and I earnestly hope that I can help Eden along her path to bigger and better challenges - she and all her generation are the future, the only hope we have. May we all help them as best we can.    
     
     

55 comments:

  1. What a wonderful experience for a young person to have and to be very excited about it.

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  2. Que grata y gran experiencia tanto para ti amigo David como para la amiga Eden, seguramente, serán y quedaran en su recuerdo como momentos inolvidables. Es una satisfacción el poder comprobar que el futuro está garantizado con gente joven como ella dispuesta a aprender y oír en este caso la voz de la experiencia y sabiduría aportada por ese gran profesor en tu persona.
    Un fuerte abrazo para ambos apreciado amigo David

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  3. Great work, Eden. Always good to get young people involved; they have so much energy and enthusiasm.

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  4. Beautiful name, beautiful girl!

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  5. Very exciting to see a youth involved in the natural world.

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  6. Heart lifting. Wonderful images of Eden enjoying monitoring the birdlife. An exceptional young woman.

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  7. Thanks so much for sharing your love of the natural world with people of all ages! Much gratitude.

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  8. This is a wonderful post. Thank you so much for this tribute to womeone I hope is one of the custodians of the future.
    I loved seeing the joy in her face and wish her nothing but good things in her journey through life.

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  9. It is really lovely that you are giving her so much encouragement along with so many opportunities to be involved. I can see what an attractive girl Eden is both in looks and personality.

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  10. She's cute. I think she has a great experience and maybe even some inspiration for a future career.

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    1. She is far more than cute. She is smart, committed and will make her mark.

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  11. An inspiring post. Perhaps wise beyond her years? It gives me hope for the future.

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  12. You make a wonderful mentor, David, How fortunate for both of you. Love the story about her name.

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  13. What a lovely young lady she is then, you are very lucky to have one so helpful.

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  14. Det går inte att ta miste på din beundran och ditt engagemang för Eden! Ett mycket rörande och djupt känslomässigt inlägg som förmedlar så väl vad du vill säga om denna unika flicka.

    Du ser längre framåt i tiden än vad de flesta gör David och förstår betydelsen av den yngre generationens insikter och kunskap om vår natur.
    Tack för ett mycket välskrivet och intressant inlägg.
    Vår värld behöver många Greta och Eden för att möta de utmaningar vi står inför.

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  15. The more Edens the better - with luck she can help restore ours.

    Hope all is well.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  16. Looks like you have found a great new friend, like minded and committed.

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  17. Eden’s got the right name … she’s heavenly through and through in her pursuits! I like her can-do spirit!

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  18. She sounds like she's going to make a big impact :)

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  19. What a beautiful name Eden is. It looks like she has found what she wants to do for a living already! She is lucky to find a great friend and mentor in you.

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  20. Hello, Eden is a lovely young girl. Very dedicated birder and nature lover. You have found a great friend in Eden! Happy birding! Wishing you a happy day and a great new week!

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  21. such beautiful pictures of eden, she sounds like such a smart, lovely girl. you are so lucky to have these young people in the group, who are interested in nature and birds, it is unusual these days. i enjoyed the story as to how she got her name!!!

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  22. Me ha encantado verla. Un abrazo para los dos.

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  23. David, it´s a beautiful life story in today´s world.

    Abraço.

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  24. Eden es hermosa, por fuera y por dentro y me ha gustado mucho saber el significado de su nombre. También es maravilloso ver como los jóvenes se interesan y ponen tanta ilusión en esa buena labor que les indicas por las aves y la naturaleza.
    Has tenido una compañera encantadora!
    Muchos besos a los dos.

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  25. What a wonderful opportunity for a young girl with her interests. I still cherish a couple mentors who encouraged me and involved me in activities like this many years ago. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with young people who are of course critical to the future of the natural world.

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  26. Hi David,
    Super read of a committed and very bright young lady who has obviously made a great impression on you.
    All the best, John

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  27. To see that kind of enthusiasm for nature in a young person is heartwarming indeed...:)

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  28. Eden, a beautiful name, what a wonderful young girl, working hard.

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  29. The girl likes what she does! ;)

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  30. I hope Eden can enthuse her fellow youngsters to adopt the same dedication and hard work that she exhibits, David. What a gem that young lady is! Your own encouragement is exemplary, and your admiration for her will spur her on, I'm sure.

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  31. Sounds to me like you have found the perfect friend, and yes I agree with Richard, I hope she can enthuse her fellow youngsters. I think she has the perfect person to learn from, good luck to her and to you encouraging her. Have a good day Diane

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  32. What a wonderful young person :) We need many more like her.

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  33. Eden is a lovely name and I enjoyed reading the story behind it.
    Always nice to see your photographs and also nice to see a younger generation with such interest :)

    All the best Jan

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  34. That's a lovely story David. Eden has a look of my own granddaughter Olivia, born in the same year. I felt quite drawn to her by that resemblance and also by your description of her lovely nature and enthusiasm for your joint tasks. Well done to you both in forming that friendship that spans the generations.

    Back home, we are suffering the coldest June on record, rain, wind and low temperatures combined. Just sitting it out for now.

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  35. Buena amiga tienes David. Con un precioso nombre y muy linda sonrisa.
    Fe🎉 Li 🍰 Ci 🎈 Da 🎁 Des 😘 para Eden. Y que siga con su pasión por la naturaleza, que hace mucha falta que todos cuidemos de ella.
    Abrazos para los dos.

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  36. Hello David, was away for a week to the farm of my brother in France. It is good to see this young enthousiastic girl with the hart on the right place for nature.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  37. What a great experience for Eden. It's wonderful of you to share your love of birds with a new generation.

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  38. David - a precious, encouraging and warm story. Thanks for giving us a peek into your friendship, not to mention those terrific bird boxes! I am confident there are Edens out there who will help us take the next step forward with conservation of our environment and our planet!

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  39. So nice to come across a young girl so connected to nature and eager to learn.

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    1. Nothing would make me happier than to see her go on to a career in conservation biology!

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  40. Interesting and inspiring story!

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  41. Hi David, you are very lucky to have a friend like Eden! I read the post and I felt the way you feel about this girl and I can truly imagine her feelings towards evrything she's enjoying and experiencing. I think her mom is very proud of Eden, it's good to see young people interacting this way with nature. Wish her all my best and lots to enjoy (togehter with you and the birds). Lovely post!

    Kind regards,
    Marianne

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    1. Thanks, Marianne, it is a pleasure to spend time with Eden. I will pass on your good wishes, but I am sure she will read this comment. Enjoy the weekend coming up.

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  42. talented a young female scientist....
    thank you for sharing inspiring story...

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  43. Good that Eden is willing to learn about nature...young people should be more interested.

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  44. a great story and a lovely young lady. Also great she love and learn about nature and birds :)

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  45. What a delightful relationship for you both, and what inspiration for those of us who are able to read about it. It's a good reminder to us all to look around at the young people who surround us, and see if we can't help set some of them on their own path to engagement.

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  46. I always love seeing the beautiful photos in your spotting posts but it is when I read one like this, a story of a young woman who is not only an eager student but a genuine lover of nature and one who wants to protect and preserve its birds (and probably a good deal more) that I am especially grateful for your terrific writing and ability to bring stories like this to the rest of it. She's a wonderful example to young people and your relationship just makes me smile.

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  47. Hi David - what a delightful rapport the two of you have; while reading how Eden acquired her name - I'm so glad she has grown up and continuing to grow up to love nature, in all its glory. She'll be a star in her chosen field ... hopefully zoology. As Jeanie says she's a wonderful example to us all ... cheers and thanks for the delightful photos - Hilary

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  48. Congratulations! Young people must continue the wonderful work of the elders !

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