BCR 199: Christopher Leahy, Birds of Mongolia


Christopher Leahy was the first occupant of the Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology at the Massachusetts Audubon Society from 2001 to 2017. From 1985 to 2001 he was Director of Mass Audubon’s Center for Biological Conservation.

Chris retired from Mass Audubon in the spring of 2017, after a 45 year career as a professional naturalist and conservationist, but continues to work on selected conservation projects under the Bertrand Chair (emeritus). His comprehensive interest in natural history began in childhood, and he is a recognized authority on birds and insects.

Perhaps his deepest international  involvement has been in Mongolia, which he first visited in 1982 and to which he has returned almost annually since the early 1990’s following the end of Soviet domination and the establishment of a parliamentary democracy and market economy. Between 2009 and 2011, he worked to create a conservation program within Nomadic Expeditions, the country’s premier travel operator to promote sustainable ecotourism though guide training, marketing, publications, and exploration of new itineraries. More recently he has played a significant role in an international project involving American, Mongolian and European scientists, naturalists, park administrators and others to improve the infrastructure and management of Mongolia’s national park system.

Show Notes:

  • Gombobaatar Sundev, Mongolia’s foremost ornithologist.
  • Mongolia almost defies imagination.
  • Describe the topography and climate of the region.
  • What are the main ecological zones and habitats?
  • Describe the climate of Mongolia.
  • Mongolian’s traditional resource conservation and the practice of sustainable use of resources.
  • Mongolia known as the last wilderness nation?
  • Mongolia’s best-kept secret is that it is one of the world’s greatest bird sanctuaries.
  •  History of Ornithology in Mongolia.
  • What are the best places for a birder to visit when time is limited?

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  1. Ken Archambault on April 7, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    I’m about to listen, but I suspect no one will mention that Mongolia is the LEAST densely populated nation on Earth. I’ve visited most of the sites illustrated in the above photos on a single birding tour, and it remains one of my 5 most favorite birding tours ever. Not a great number of species, but a nice assortment. Then landscapes were amazing, the people are wonderful there, the wildflowers were amazing, the mammals noteworthy, and the birds were a quality assortment of mostly relative easy species to film. Now, to listen 🙂 -Ken Archambault, Birmingham, Alabama

  2. Gombobaatar Sundev on April 9, 2020 at 12:46 am

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks. Great to hear it. Well done. Great show Mardi.
    Cheers Gomboo

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