Bird Watching at Lake Holiday


Written by Anthony Morelli

On April 4, 2019

Gabe Ricketts, Birder

This 13-year-old is a serious birder!

Gabriel “Gabe” Ricketts is a birding enthusiast. You may have seen him walking around the neighborhoods of Lake Holiday, outfitted with binoculars and camera, and toting bulky spotting scope equipment. The 13-year-old resident of South Lakeview Drive is often out and about actively looking for the many varieties of bird species found in our community.

“Lake Holiday is special for birds and other wildlife,” Gabe says, “and often rare types of birds show up here.”  Among those he is proud to have spotted here is the Red-Throated Loon, which, he points out, “is similar to the Common Loon.” He has also seen the White-Winged Scoter, “a type of coastal-living duck,” and the American Avocet, “a black and white shorebird with a unique upturned bill tip.”

A common term used to describe a person who seriously pursues the hobby of bird-watching is ‘birder’. And, young Gabe is a serious birder.  At age 13, he is on the Board of Directors of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Audubon Society (NSVAS). Along with NSVAS President Jim Smith, Gabe organizes and leads field trips around the northernmost part of the state.

This young birder encourages everyone to look at birds more often. In fact, he is starting a birding club in Lake Holiday and invites anyone interested in joining to email him at  

By: Peggy McClurken

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