BCR 117: Scott Weidensaul, Author and Naturalist

Scott Weidensaul has written more than two dozen books, including his widely acclaimed Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds (North Point 1999), which was a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. His latest book is the Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean, which was published in 2015.

Weidensaul’s writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Audubon (for which he is a contributing editor), Bird Watcher’s Digest and National Wildlife, among many others. He lectures widely on conservation, nature and directs the ornithological programs for National Audubon’s famed Hog Island Center on the coast of Maine.

In addition to writing about wildlife, Weidensaul is an active field researcher whose work focuses on bird migration. He is a co-director of Project Owlnet, a collaborative effort among nearly 125 banding and research stations across North America studying owl migration, and for nearly 20 years he has directed a major effort to study the movements of northern saw-whet owls, one of the smallest and least-understood raptors in North America. 

Weidensaul co-founded Project SNOWstorm, which uses cutting-edge tracking technology to study snowy owls, and is a founder of the Critical Connections project, which is tracking the migration of birds that breed on National Park lands in Alaska. He is also part of a continental effort to understand the rapid evolution, by several species of western hummingbirds, of a new migratory route and wintering range in the East.

Show Notes:

  • When did you become interested in the natural world and how did those early interests develop?
  • Your book Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds first published in 1999 was a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction. What effect did the success of this book have on your career?
  • What draws you back to the well of bird study and naturalists?
  • What events from The First Frontier still stand out for you today?
  • Project SNOWstorm uses cutting-edge tracking technology; current season and what you have learned about their winter ecology and climate change.
  • Your fieldwork is on the cutting edge of technological science.
  • Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean that was published in 2015. This comprehensive new work, covering all the owls of North America (including Mexico) and the Caribbean, is the latest addition to the Peterson Reference Guide series.
  • Tell us about your involvement in Hog Island

Mentioned In Episode:

Scott Weidensaul Website

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