Our friend Mitch spotting a bird!

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

Rafe (standing) preparing for a dive in Ensenada.

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.

Great-horned owl in Frenchglen, OR

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.