I first discovered that I enjoyed watching birds when I was very young. It started when my family used to go to a lake for weekends for fishing and relaxation. Don’t remember exactly which lake it was but I have vivid memories of catching bunches of bluegill. Occasionally on these weekend trips a relative (a distant aunt I think) who was a birdwatcher used to come along. She would invite me on her bird walks and i was hooked. To fuel my interest she gave me an old Golden Field Guide to Birds of North America. I still have this field guide (albeit in several pieces after so many years and extensive use). By the time I got to high school my passion for birds had waned and was largely replaced by sports. However when I started college (Biola College) I met Rafe Payne who would mentor me
for the next four years. It seems before I could unpack my belongings in the dorm Rafe took my under his wing (no pun intended), rekindled my passion for birds (among other things), and took me on a journey that profoundly impacted both my personal and professional life as I went on to complete both an M.S. and Ph.D. in bird-related biology.
I studied bird ecology and physiology in graduate school which prepared me to do more than 20 years of avian research. My focus has largely been on hummingbirds….a group for which I have a particular passion. I also teach an ornithology course and each year look forward to sharing my excitement of birds with a new group of students. Many of my former students have maintained an intense interest in birds long after their graduation.
The wonderful thing about watching birds as a hobby is that it can be done just about anywhere and all that is required is a pair of binoculars. A pair of binoculars is rarely far from my reach and I am frequently distracted by flitting things with feathers. Sometimes I am more distracted than I should be but that’s just kind of the way it is.
On this page I will post content related to my interest in birds. Hope you enjoy it.