Leica Stories – Barbara Bickel

Last weekend I, Jennie Duberstein, got to lead field trips at the Wings Over Willcox Birding and Nature Festival in Willcox, Arizona. It’s a fantastic festival in a tiny town in southeastern Arizona, full of cranes, wintering raptors and sparrows, and great people (if you haven’t been, I highly recommend it). Barbara Bickel, a long-time resident of Tucson, Arizona, was a participant on one of my field trips. Her well-loved Leica binoculars caught my attention, and I asked her to tell me a little bit about them—and her!



Where do you live?
I’ve lived in Tucson since 1963.

How long have you been a birder?
I’ve been a birder since the early 1980s. At that time I became a docent at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum here in Tucson. On a docent field trip to the Chiricahua Mountains we saw an Elegant Trogon. I knew people came from all over the country to see that bird, so I thought perhaps I should start a list of birds I’d seen. We also bought a cabin in the Santa Catalina Mountains and I started to keep track of the birds I saw there, and I joined Tucson Audubon Society.

What Leica optics do you own?
Ultravid 10×42 binoculars and the small spotting scope (APO Televid 62).

How long have you owned Leicas?
I purchased the binoculars at an American Birding Association Convention in Beaumont Texas in 2001. A few years later I bought the scope at the 2004 McAllen ABA Convention. Both times Terry Moore was very helpful advising me on my purchase.

What is one of the most memorable birds or experiences you’ve seen through your Leicas?
My Leica binoculars are pretty much a constant companion. Whether I am guiding a visitor tour at the Desert Museum or sitting on the deck at our cabin watching feeders, my binoculars are close at hand. But one of my favorite recent experiences was watching both Military Macaws and Andean Condors in the same binocular view, flying over an enchanted valley walled in by high cliffs in Bolivia.

Do you have a story to share? Email Jennie Duberstein at canicas88@gmail.com and share your favorite birding experience with your Leicas!