Yup. I was a high school super-star. Great at art, on the track team, a cross-country runner AND skier - oh, and did I mention I was really into bird watching? No. And I don't think I mentioned it to much of anyone in high school, either. In fact, I didn't say a lot back then and kinda blended into the background.
I did like to be outdoors, exploring the woodsy parts of my town. I would go off on long walks alone and take arty photographs or search for edible wild plants. I did observe birds and other wildlife occasionally, and this helped a lot when assigned art projects had anything to do with animals.
For instance in this piece, "Called to the Shore," which I made in 1995, I was already keenly aware of the intricacies of bird feet - apparently I was also quite sure birds had large, visible veins and arteries throughout their legs. I studied a number of photos of bird legs before tackling this piece. And yes, I had my very own bird whistle to use as a model.