Life is Better With Birds

December 15, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

It seems birds have always delighted people all over the world. They’re beautiful, powerful, engaging and make a lot of us very curious. Bird-watching or birding – the observing of birds either for fun, science applications, or other professional purposes, is an incredibly popular activity and it’s one of the fastest growing outdoor activities. It’s fair to say that dedicated wildlife photographers that include birds in their craft are also birders – me included. I’ve learned a lot from birders!


In my newest podcast I’m excited to talk with Jay Sheppard who had a career as an ornithologist with the US Fish & Wildlife Service; is a fellow in the American Ornithological Society; has birded in all 50 states; and more recently has been leading tours to observe short-eared owls on a Maryland property slated for commercial development.  That’s how I came to know Jay. 


Jay is certainly a birder, but he’s also a bird scientist and dedicated conservationist. In addition to his 23-year career with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, in retirement, Jay wrote a nearly 500-page life-study of the LeConte’s Thrasher – a bird found in the desert southwest. Jay’s study was published by the organization of Western Field Ornithologists, and can be purchased from them or it’s also available on Amazon. I’m excited to have Jay on the podcast today – listen in – to hear from someone who has dedicated his life to the study and conservation of birds and their habitats. He’s seen a lot and done a lot.


Here’s the questions Jay answered in my newest podcast.

  • You've been watching, studying, and following birds for decades, and you had a career focused on birds. What interests you most about birds?


  • You’ve been organizing short-eared owl tours at the Konterra, Maryland private property for a few years. I’ve been on these tours and loved it. I have a few questions about this.
    • First, how do you describe Konterra?
    • How did you discover Konterra, Maryland?
    • How many people have joined the Konterra tours?
    • Do you expect Konterra will be developed some day?
    • What makes the Konterra property good habitat for the birds and other wildlife that live and migrate there?
    • What can those of us who benefit from birding and bird photography do to support the Konterra habitat?


  • Do you have a favorite bird?


  • We’re coming into winter season. You have a helpful post on your Facebook page about laying down a tarp when it snows to create a bare patch of grass for birds. Can you describe this and why it’s helpful for birds, as well as birders?


  • You’ve birded in all 50 states and Canada which means you’ve seen some amazing bird life. What’s the most unusual or unexpected encounter you’ve had?


  • What tips would you give new birders?


  • What tips would you give seasoned birders?


Listen now on my podcast.


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