#BlackWomenWhoBird: A Personal Reflection

Read the full post from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

My name is Felice Yarbough. I’m a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service park ranger with the Houston Community Partnerships and Engagement, an urban wildlife conservation program.

When I first joined the Service in 2019, I was told all these great things, one being that the agency was full of birders.

I didn’t really know what birding was. I could infer it had something to do with birds, but whether it was watching, recording, collecting or a combination of things, I wasn’t quite sure. What I did know was that I was new and I wanted to fit in, but I didn’t know any birders, let alone black women birders. I couldn’t remember a time when I ever used a pair of binoculars.

Birding wasn’t even part of my job description, and yet I felt I was a fraud for not knowing more. I felt I would stick out like a sore thumb being around colleagues if they ever talked about their latest birding adventure and, suddenly, all the other things that I knew would become irrelevant. I decided I would be quiet – listening, studying and hoping I would remember a sliver of the conversation so that I could regurgitate it the next time I was in a similar situation.

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