Bird Club Programs
Bringing engaging programs — both virtually and in-person — to birding clubs, Audubon Society chapters, and other similar functions is a medium I love sharing stories through. With these, it’s my goal to, with riveting stories and imagery, transport audiences to distant landscapes and celebrate the common ground of our shared investment and curiosity towards birds and their landscapes. Jump to the contact form at the bottom of this page to facilitate scheduling. Stay tuned for more programs to join this list!
Manitou Migration (Lake Superior, Michigan): During October 2020, I spent two weeks on an uninhabited Lake Superior island surveying waterbird migration. It was a wild, elemental place, with gale warnings the standard forecast. To experience avian passage in a setting where weather patterns impacted our movements like they did the birds I counted was to experience migration in a new dimension. Living in a 150-year-old lighthouse (with no heat, no running water, no electricity…and having triple-digits of mice) added to the unique experience…especially since we forgot to pack mousetraps.
Travels in Florida: In Florida, large tracts of wilderness (of all states east of the Mississippi, Florida ranks #2 in public land area) abut dense population centers. Gritty conservation complexities, too, are embedded in the state’s past and present: In 1905, Guy Bradley, one of the U.S.’s first game wardens, was killed while defending rookery birds from plume-hunters. At Lake Okeechobee, a drastic water control project — 1600 miles of canals and levees — tamed and dried the Everglades, which still suffer. Today, exotic pythons devastate native bird and mammal populations. And yet, time spent in Florida’s wildlands is rewarding—imagine canoe camping in the mangrove labyrinth, searching for endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Florida Scrub-Jays in quiet national forests, and paddling gator-lined waterways in pursuit of Snail Kites.
Journey through the Borderlands: In March 2019, my partner-in-crime acquired a new vehicle, and we decided there was no better way of breaking it in than to head down to the U.S.-Mexico border and drive it along the southernmost roads. Part of the inspiration for this trip was wanting to see the newly-coined National Emergency for ourselves, and to see, too, some of the precious habitat remnants jeopardized by the border wall. We spent about a month working from Bolsa Chica, Texas, (at the mouth of the Rio Grande) to southeast Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains. From scouring reedbeds for Morelet’s Seedeater to camping on the world’s longest barrier island, this jaunt was rich with landscapes and experiences–and, of course, birds–not readily found in North America.
Alaska’s Pribilof Islands: If you were to look at a map of the Bering Sea, it might not be immediately apparent whether Russia or the United States claimed the Pribilof archipelago; the islands are not particularly close to anywhere. Because of this, during migratory periods, the Pribilofs are a much-sought destination for birders: then, birds nearly impossible to find elsewhere in North America–species with names like Siberian Rubythroat and Eurasian Hobby and Oriental Greenfinch– occasionally turn up. During 2015 & 2016, I guided for the native corporation on St. Paul Island. This is, perhaps, some of the highest-stakes guiding in North America, where factors like unreliable airline service, Beringian weather, and wanting to produce for people who came to find birds that may well not even be on the continent confound.