Birding While You Work
Balancing birdwatching with a career doesn’t always mean taking time off the clock.
In "A Birder for All Seasonings," Christopher R. Cox profiles Hank Kaestner, a spice consultant and avid birder who scours the world for exotic flavors while building his life list at the same time. But Kaestner isn’t the only one whose career provides an opportunity to bird. Indeed, professionals like ecologists, natural resource specialists, and boat captains also find time for on-the-job birding. But there are other, perhaps less obvious careers that blend well with birdwatching. Below is a list of 10.
“On my trips from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania [Allentown-Bethlehem] to the various airports, I can do some birding before I pick up my passengers or after I drop them off on my way back to our office in Northampton.”
“I’ve helped promote birding by purchasing feeders, participating in Cornell’s Classroom Feeder Watch, and even installed ‘Bird Cams’ so students can watch the feeders from home.”
Bogert Elementary School
Upper Saddle River, NJ
“A lot of times the hawks on the [Stone Barns] property are really our allies. We saw one get a vole. We [also] see bluebirds and orioles, and we have some sparrows that are getting nice and fat in our greenhouse right now.”
Westchester County, NY
“I am lucky enough to work on a daily basis around some of Africa’s most spectacular birds. Most of my efforts in the field go towards finding our guests large cats and other megafauna, but with all our visitors, I try to tempt them with the fascinating world of wings and feathers.”
“My husband is English and knew several postal and UPS employees in the UK who loved their jobs because they spent them outside birding all day.”
High-rise Office Worker
“My office was on the 30-somethingth floor [of a building in San Francisco]. Peregrine falcons hung out on the big letters of a couple of different signs near the top of the building across the street. Sometimes the falcons just loafed, and sometimes they used these high perches to pluck and devour lunch (Brewer’s blackbirds or rock pigeons, usually).”
Butte Valley, CA
“While washing, a worker might look for birds reflected in the windows.”
Kenn Kaufman, Audubon field editor and author of the Kaufman Focus Guides: Birds of North America.
Sewage Treatment Facility Worker
“We’re outside quite a bit, so I’m always looking up or looking down and seeing what’s flying around…Water sprays on the rocks that the bacteria grow on, and killdeer frequent this area. They feed off of some larvae and worms that feed on these spots. And on dry spots, they make nests. It’s amazing how the eggs blend in.” (For more sewage-treatment sites with amazing birding, go to Birding in a Wasteland.)
Allentown Wastewater Treatment Plant
Optics Sales Representative
“We specialize in birding binoculars, scopes, and tripods. As vendors, we attend a few of the more local birding festivals. When I’m out birding, I always carry business cards and some of our best products. I often stop and help birders who look new and confused with their identifications, show off the optics, and pass out cards. I start work at 10 AM on Saturdays and get in a couple of hours’ birding before that, so it’s easy to meet someone at a convenient birding spot.”
SoCA Bird Guides
Aliso Viejo, CA
“This morning there were two roofers up on one of the smaller roofs [of a casino where peregrine falcons are nesting], I'm not sure they were aware of the falcons at first but the birds were swooping pretty closely. I saw one of them take a couple of pretty steep fast dives at the roofer's hardhat. I'd swear she was within just mere inches of hitting him. They both stepped back and took a good look at that point!”
From a June 12, 2006 excerpt of www.Birderblog.com
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Feature story link to "A Birder for All Seasonings."