Bird Watching (UK) - - News -

Sev­en­teen-year-old Es­sex bird­watcher Max Hel­licar has been se­lected by the Cameron Be­spolka Trust to re­ceive a schol­ar­ship to Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity’s pres­ti­gious Young Bird­ers’ Camp. Young bird­watch­ers were in­vited to ap­ply for the schol­ar­ship in Bird Watch­ing’s Fe­bru­ary is­sue, and Max, of Southend, was cho­sen from a short­list of three. As well as be­ing a keen patch birder and ring-reader, he is an avid na­ture pho­tog­ra­pher and moth-trap­per. He said: “The event will be the ab­so­lutely ideal en­vi­ron­ment for me and an op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther open my mind to the many dif­fer­ent fields within the sci­en­tific or­nitho­log­i­cal sec­tor. It will be a chance to de­velop new skills, and I want to say a mas­sive thank-you to the Cameron Be­spolka Trust for mak­ing it pos­si­ble.” Max is cur­rently study­ing for a BTEC Level 3 in Coun­try­side Man­age­ment, and hopes to make a ca­reer in con­ser­va­tion or bird mon­i­tor­ing. He al­ready vol­un­teers at Rain­ham Marshes RSPB, and has vol­un­teered for the BTO at Bird­fair, as well as be­ing an ac­tive mem­ber of Next Gen­er­a­tion Bird­ers (NGB) and A Fo­cus On Na­ture (AFON). He said: “I’d love to work for a re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion such as Cor­nell Lab or the BTO, and to be in­volved at the heart of un­der­stand­ing our avi­fauna, but I un­der­stand that to reach these goals I will need to be in­volved in as much var­ied vol­un­tary work as I can while I am young.” Max’s in­ter­est in birds is long-stand­ing – he says that birds “are in his blood”, adding: “I’ve been in­ter­ested in birds since around the age of four. It started off look­ing at in­sects and de­vel­oped from there. “I got into birds on my own, but I’ve been lucky to be sup­ported by a lot of peo­ple, es­pe­cially my par­ents. My ad­vice to other young bird­ers would be to do what makes you happy. “Don’t be afraid to make mis­takes, and don’t be afraid to ask peo­ple.” He says that so­cial me­dia has been a par­tic­u­larly use­ful tool for young bird­watch­ers such as him­self. “Things like the NGB Face­book page aren’t just on­line groups – it’s been great to meet up with and go bird­ing with oth­ers of a sim­i­lar age, and af­ter the Cor­nell camp it will be a great chance to share what I learn.”

Max (and right) do­ing what he loves best – bird­ing

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