Ted V. Fitzgerald
Payson, Utah

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I have spent my “best” times surrounded by nature. I grew up virtually in the mountains of central Utah in the coal mining town of Hiawatha with no television until I was twelve. Our playground was the mountains and creeks mingling with porcupines and mule deer. We seldom ventured into the conifer forest that surrounded the town without seeing one of Utah’s most brilliant birds, what we always called a Blue Jay, but thanks to UtahBirds.org I now know is the Stellar’s Jay. As an adult I spent my career working for the Forest Service in various capacities such as a Construction Engineer, Forest Engineer, District Ranger, and lastly as an On-Scene Coordinator “poetically” cleaning up the historic mining wastes in American Fork Canyon to contain the potentially hazardous heavy metals that had been leaching from those waste piles and mill tailings for over a century. After retiring from the Federal Government I continued the cleanup in American Fork Canyon working for Trout Unlimited to reclaim mine sites on land owned by Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

When I retired my wife gave me my first digital camera and I found the joy of being able to take unlimited pictures for little cost. It was not until that camera was stolen from my pickup truck that I got into birding (still very much a novice though an enthusiastic one).
I replaced the camera with a Canon PowerShot SX10IS that has a 20x optical zoom and 80x digital zoom. Now I can reach out and bring the birds up close without spooking them. I just need more storage on my hard drive to hold all the pictures.

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