Community Phone

September TeleGraham: $4 Accessories And A Pair Of Ornithologists

September TeleGraham: $4 Accessories And A Pair Of Ornithologists

Chargers and cables $4 each, for anyone in the Community

We're happy to announce that we have expanded our phone accessories program! Since the opening of our store in Boston, we have been offering local Community members screen protectors and chargers for wholesale prices. Several members from around the country (from Alabama to Alaska!) have requested that we expand this program to people outside the Boston area. We have listened! Any Community Phone members around the world can contact us to receive chargers and screen protectors for $4 each, including shipping. If you are worried about screen scratches or prone to forgetting your charger at home, reach out and we can help provide you quality chargers and protectors for wholesale prices. This is just one benefit of being part of our Community!

Click To Discover Our At-Cost Accessories

New Team Members

Here is one of Xinlin's lovely Facebook posts. Caption: Sunday, ice cream day! Always good to have an ice cream place as our neighbors

 

As we did last month, we are happy to introduce you to two new faces at Community Phone! We now have two new and lovely staff members in our Boston office who have been working behind the scenes to improve our customer experience. First, Xinlin Cai moved to Boston from China for her undergraduate degree at University of Massachusetts Boston, where she studied marketing. Here at Community Phone Xinlin has been the brains and brawn behind several new initiatives, including running our Facebook and Instagram pages. She has also helped run our store during the busiest days, so you may have met her smiling face there! Second, Josh Norris is our new customer support manager. He is here to ensure that every Community member receives a straightforward, simple, and welcoming experience with Community Phone. He manages our website chat, phone call system, and our email help@communityphone.org. If you have contacted us in the last month, you have probably already heard his calming voice!

We are proudly based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and we are happy to provide a tailored benefit to Cambridge local businesses. Cambridge Local First is an organization dedicated to promoting Cambridge local businesses over massive corporations. This rings true to our mission at Community Phone, where we are trying to bring a local, personalized feeling back to telecommunications. To celebrate Cambridge local businesses, anyone who switches to Community Phone (for plans starting at $15/month for unlimited talking and texting in all 50 states) can receive a Cambridge Local First membership on us!

Click to Discover Cambridge Local First 

Member Spotlight: What is ornithology?

In the monthly Member Spotlight, we showcase one of our wonderful members, to show how extraordinary members in the Community really are. Here is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, one of Bob and Martha's favorite birds.  This month, we're profiling two members who have caused us to lend a keen eye (and ear!) to the world around us. Martha and Bob Steele are two ornithologists based in Boston. One of our staff members was lucky enough to speak with them about their journey into birding. Here is an excerpt of that conversation.

 

Ellie: What exactly is ornithology?

Martha and Bob: Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Professional ornithologists are usually academics but birders across the world can be considered amateur ornithologists, as many birders contribute data on what birds they see whenever they walk out the door to bird. Birders are arguably the largest group of citizen scientists across the globe and their reports of the birds they see provide fertile ground for professional ornithologists or other scientists to study to learn more about birds and focus conservation efforts to protect them and their habitats.

Ellie: I have never heard the phrase "citizen scientist" before. How cool that we can all take part! Have you always been excited about birds?

Bob: I was born and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and have birded since I was about ten years old. At the time, birding was not as popular as it is today and I, like many other young boys that took up birding, tended to be discreet about my passion. I would often travel the T throughout the Boston area or get rides from older birders to pursue my hobby.

Martha: I, on the other hand, did not take up birding until I was in my late 30s. She was on a bird walk organized by a work colleague in Mount Auburn Cemetery when she saw beautiful warblers for the first time, and she was hooked. Ellie: Martha, if you would not mind sharing with us, how does being blind affect your bird searches? From an outside perspective, being able to identify birds without seeing them seems like a superpower.

Martha: I do most of my birding in the spring and early summer when birds are singing most often and intensely as part of their breeding season. Thus, I have learned how to identify birds by their songs or other vocalizations. Even sighted birders largely bird by stopping when they hear a song or some chip note. That tells them to start looking for the bird that just made the sound. I still have a long ways to go in learning bird songs but at this point, I can identify about 150 bird species just by their songs.

Ellie: I stand by what I said before: identifying that many bird species by song along seems like a superpower to me. It's inspiring to hear that you found this passion and have thrown yourself into it so heartily. Are there birds that you each find particularly compelling?

Martha and Bob: This is always a difficult question as there are many birds that are so beautiful or who have beautiful and moving songs, particularly when you hear them in an otherwise quiet environment, such as the deep woods of New England. Birders greatly anticipate the coming of spring with the returning migrants. We scramble for good looks at our returning warblers, flycatchers, orioles, and others. Wrens, such as the Winter Wren and Carolina Wren, and thrushes, such as the Hermit Thrush or Wood Thrush, are among our favorite songsters. We also love the songs of some birds that are very small but belt out robust and beautiful songs, such as the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. (This is the bird whose song we have included with this interview.)

Ellie: On the other side, are there birds whose songs bother either of you?

Martha and Bob: The word bother is probably not the right word but there are songs that are somewhat annoying. Top on our list would be the ubiquitous House Sparrow, present in all urban areas in Massachusetts and one that pretty much all of you hear all the time but you may not register what they are.

Ellie: What would you like to share with someone like me who has never gone bird watching?

Martha and Bob: Birding is such a wonderful avocation. You can bird anywhere at any time in any kind of weather anywhere in the world. Birding gets people out of their houses and enhances our appreciation of the natural world. Not only are birds often stunningly beautiful but their stories can be utterly fascinating. Not least among the wonders of birds is the unbelievable migrations that so many birds do every year. Birds born in New England during the summer take off, on their own, on the fall migration to locations south and then return to the area they were born the next year, a pattern that repeats itself every year. All birders and many others marvel at how the heck they can do that, especially those that travel from the Arctic to the southern tip of Argentina and back. Please let us know if you would like to be put in touch with Martha or Bob. Our office has been inspired by their love for and dedication to birds since they joined the Community. Thank you, Martha and Bob, for taking the time to speak with us.