Roger Tory Peterson Quote

Welcome to the BirdFellow journal. We aim to write on a wide range of topics relevant to all birders. We hope you find our research and ideas informative, fresh, and thought provoking. We value your feedback and encourage you to share your thoughts.


Dave Irons

Hometown: Eugene, Oregon | N44°2.2113, W123°7.28274

Dave has been birding since age 6, when his parents joined the South Bend, Indiana Audubon Society. From a young age he participated in local Christmas Bird Counts and accompanied his parents on field trips there and in Portland, Oregon, where his family moved when he was 10. At age 17 he became "serious" about birding and began networking with other Oregon birders closer to his own age.

By age 21 he was a member Oregon's Bird Records Committee (OBRC), was leading field trips and organizing pelagic trips for the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon and was writing bird articles for Oregon Birds (quarterly publication of Oregon Field Ornithologists).

He returned to the Midwest in 1991 and spent the next seven years living and birding in Indiana and Illinois. He "came home" to Oregon in 1998 and within a few years was back on the OBRC, reviewed the entire manuscript for "Birds of Oregon: A General Reference (Marshall et al. eds) before it was published in 2003, and joined Steve Mlodinow as a regional editor (Oregon and Washington Region) for North American Birds later that year. He later became the statewide field notes editor for Oregon Birds.

Despite living out of state for seven years, Dave is once again among the top ten active listers in Oregon with a state list in the 430's. He has also been a member of record-setting Big Day teams that currently hold the Oregon state record (219), the June record for North America (219), and the July record for North America (213). In 2007 Dave set a single-county year list record for Oregon by seeing/hearing 289 species in Lane County, where he resides. He has a keen interest in migration patterns, vagrancy, and the range and distribution of identifiable subspecies that occur in Oregon and loves teaching others what he knows about these topics. As a BirdFellow Content Editor, Dave can be counted on to provide expert advice about birding the entire state of Oregon, particularly in his home county and the surrounding Willamette Valley.

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Elizabeth J. Rosenthal

Hometown: Burlington, New Jersey | N40°4.5741, W074°51.4475

Elizabeth J. Rosenthal is the author of Birdwatcher: the Life of Roger Tory Peterson (Lyons Press, 2008). No other Peterson biography affords the three-dimensional look at this giant of history possible only due to the author’s interviews with 116 diverse people who knew Peterson personally. The book has received excellent reviews in the New York Review of Books, Birder's World, and Bird Watcher's Digest, as well as in such newspapers as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, and been well-received by various natural history bloggers and birding club newsletters across the U.S. (Go to for more information about the book.)

Rosenthal's first book, His Song: the Musical Journey of Elton John, was published in fall 2001 by Billboard Books. His Song is the only John biography to be sold in the Elton John Store at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, and is the first John bio translated from English to Russian.

After graduating with a journalism degree from Syracuse University in 1982, Rosenthal attended Rutgers-Camden School of Law, from which she graduated in 1985. Subsequently, she was admitted to the bars of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For the past 20+ years, Rosenthal has been a civil servant, acting as liaison to the State Attorney General's Office. In 2002, she became bewitched by birds, reading everything about them that she could find and frequently going on field trips. The South Jersey home she shares with her husband is surrounded by birdfeeders frequented by loyal patrons.

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Shawneen Finnegan

Hometown: Portland, Oregon | N45°30.708, W122°40.538

Shawneen's interest in birds began in Palo Alto, California, where her mother taught her the backyard birds.  But it took until age 26 for her to rediscover birds and become obsessed. Life was never the same again. Birding opened up a great world of life-long learning, domestic and international travel, and a wonderful network of friends.

In 1986 as a rabid California lister she decided to do a big year (447), which cured her of ever wanting to do another big year.  She also went to her first American Birding Association convention in Tucson, Arizona, winning the sound quiz and getting second in the photo quiz, coming home with two pairs of binoculars after birding for only 3-1/2 years.

While living in Santa Barbara in 1991 she took on the arduous task of delineating the ranges of the world's birds for BirdArea, a software program by Santa Barbara Software Products, which she continues to update annually. In 1993 Shawneen became the first female member of the California Bird Records Committee. In 1994 she moved to Cape May, NJ, where she lived for seven years. Working as a free-lance birder and artist she was the photo editor of Birding Magazine, a WINGS tour leader, and a workshop teacher.  As an artist she produced watercolors and black-and-white illustrations for private collections, magazines, identification videos, and numerous books. As a Cape May Bird Observatory Associate Naturalist she led bird and butterfly walks.  She competed in the World Series of Birding multiple times. She also served on the New Jersey Bird Records Committee. And living at the very southern tip of NJ with a couch view of the Delaware Bay and Cape May Meadows, she and her ex-husband, Paul Lehman, had a yard list of over 300 species!

She next migrated to Tucson where she worked in the WINGS office for the next five years. In March 2007 she joined family clan members who have lived in Portland for many years.

Shawneen is a new board member of Oregon Field Ornithologists and is on the advisory board for WildBird Magazine. Currently a senior at Portland State University, she is working on her BS in Geography.  She is also illustrating the Birds of Montana, working with fellow Portlander and senior author, Jeff Marks.

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David Fix

Hometown: Bayside, California | N40°50.60778, W124°3.8568

A lover of the natural world from childhood, David Fix has always been "bird-aware," as he dimly remembers having heard Song Sparrows while playing in his sandbox in Seattle. He began birding seriously at 16.

He worked as a timber cruiser, tree planter, silvicultural technician, and wildlife tech for the USDA Forest Service in the Washington and Oregon Cascades over parts of three decades. He has banded more than 100 species of birds, conducted Breeding Bird Surveys in three states, and participated in seabird surveys by small craft from the mouth of the Columbia River to Bodega Bay. His years of woods-work and hiking in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, along with his support of research efforts, have resulted in encounters with more than 280 Spotted Owls.

David has contributed to the Oregon and northern California birding communities through mentoring, field trip leadership, Audubon programs, and the written word. His interest in geography and plant communities as they relate to bird distribution proved of particular value as he drafted the species accounts for Atlas Of The Breeding Birds Of Humboldt County, California (Redwood Region Audubon Society, Eureka, 2005). David is also senior author of Birds Of Northern California (Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, 2000).

When not enjoying birds, taking spiders outside, or searching for tall Douglas-firs, David continues to work on a coming-of-age novel set in coastal Oregon. With his partner, Jude Claire Power, he makes his home in Bayside, California, within scoping distance of North Humboldt Bay.

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Steve Mlodinow

Hometown: Everett, Washington | N47°58.59534, W122°12.38526

Steven Mlodinow was born in Chicago in 1962. He started birding at the tender age of two, when his older brothers allowed him to join them in their new found hobby (which wasn't called birding back then, but rather birdwatching). At ten years old, he "discovered" the Evanston-North Shore Bird Club and latched on like a limpet. Fortunately, they were a tolerant group (you think he's obnoxious now), and he benefitted greatly from the tutelage of Charlie Clark and Larry Balch plus the patience of Pat Ware and Ken Offill.

After drifting from birding a bit during his high school and college years, distracted by hormones and beer, he returned to birding while he was in medical school, ushered back into the fold by John O'Brien and Guy McCaskie. And the birding world has been stuck with him ever since. Steve has lived in Everett, Washington since 1992.

Steve wrote Chicago Area Birds, a combination status-and-distribution and bird-finding guide, in 1984. In 1996, he and Michael O'Brien penned America's 100 Most Wanted Birds, and then in 2005 he joined Terry Wahl and Bill Tweit in writing/editing Birds of Washington. He served as a regional editor of North American Birds, Oregon-Washington Region, from 1998 to 2008, joined by David Irons in 2003. The above publications shows his love for bird status-and-distribution, which also prompted him to write a number of articles on the subject for North American Birds, Birding, Journal of Caribbean Ornithology, and Western Birds among others.

More recently, this fascination with bird distribution has branched out into studying the how's and why's of biogeography and migration (including the causes of vagrancy). Biogeography led to increased interest in subspecies (the distribution of which are often imperfectly understood, even in the U.S. and Canada) and traveling to places that are easily visited but poorly covered ornithologically, particularly Baja California's Cape District and Aruba. The interest in subspecies led to a landmark article on Cackling Goose races recently published in North American birds, while his interest in Baja California has added nine species to the peninsula's list (one of which was a first for Mexico, Yellow-browed Warbler) and 13 species to Aruba's list.

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Bjorn Hinrichs

Hometown: Lake Oswego, Oregon | N45°25.03092, W122°40.17594

Bjorn Hinrichs is a native Oregonian. Though fairly new to birding, he has become quickly inspired by the wonder and beauty of birds. In the summer of 2007, Bjorn's young son led him to his curiosity about birds. Many summer days, his son, already possessing an insatiable curiosity about his natural environment, would inquire about a bird in the backyard. Bjorn, then having little knowledge about birds but an extensive knowledge of the Internet, spent hours online hoping to identify the birds they had seen but found many bird-related sites difficult to use. He quickly realized the opportunity to simplify the experience and to help others to use the vast resources of the Internet to embrace our natural surroundings, and specifically, the wonderful world of birds.

Bjorn began his Web career in 1995 when he founded a Web agency, OuttaSites, in Los Angeles, California. In 1997, he left Los Angeles to join Organic Inc., an agency widely recognized as the first Web design agency. Bjorn's clients at Organic included InfoSeek, Nike, Formica, Hard Rock, PlayStation, Ringling Brothers,, and others. In 2001, Bjorn decided to move back home to Oregon. After a short stint at a creative agency in Portland, he joined Xerox, where he ultimately became their Global User Experience Manager. Bjorn led interface design and strategic direction for, worldwide. In November 2008, Bjorn left Xerox to pursue his new passion and to establish Bjorn enjoys spending time with his wife, two boys, and Boxer Harley.

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