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About the Birdchaser

I'm Rob Fergus.  I am the Birdchaser.

I grew up in Oregon City, Oregon.  The first bird I remember was a Killdeer that we heard on a fishing trip near Lakeview, Oregon with my dad and grandfather when I was seven.  I made my first bird list for a cub scout requirement when I was nine, but didn't start birding seriously until I went on a week-long middle school trip to Malheur NWR when I was 12.  I was a serious bird geek, and never really outgrew it.  I've since birded in all 50 U.S. states, as well as New Zealand, South and Central America, and Europe.  There are still a lot of birds left for me to see.  I love finding and sharing birds with others.  The Birdchaser Blog is one way I can do that.

Bird Conservationist
Birding isn't just my passion, it is my profession.  After college I worked on bird monitoring programs in Montana and Texas.  I founded the Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory (HBBO) when I was in grad school in Austin, Texas and later became the first Executive Director of the Travis Audubon Society.  For nearly five years I worked for the National Audubon Society, where I worked on eBird, the Great Backyard Bird Count and Audubon at Home as the Senior Scientist for Urban Bird Conservation.

I earned my MA in Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin with a study of bird habitats and birding at the City of Austin Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Facility--a sewage pond and the best birding spot in Central Texas.  I later earned at Ph.D at UT-Austin with a dissertation on urban bird conservation strategies in U.S. cities.  Hook 'em Horns!  I have taught bird conservation classes at UT-Austin, Rowan University, and Rosemont College.  My current research involves:

  • Nuisance Bird Control and Management--I work with BirdBGone, Inc. to find new ways to help people and birds get along in cities--including ways to humanely address nuisance bird issues.  You can check out my thoughts on this in this article, and at my Ask the Bird Expert page at BirdBGone.
  • Urban Bird Conservation--I'm currently working on promoting urban bird study and conservation with other biologists around the world as part of the BirdLife International Group on Urban Birds.  You can read more about urban bird conservation at my Urban Birdscapes Blog.
  • Ethnoornithology--with linguist Kerry Hull I am documenting the bird names and traditions among various Mayan Language speakers in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.  
  • Nocturnal Bird Migration--I have set up a migration monitoring station at my home in Hunterdon County, NJ and am recording and analyzing the flight calls of birds as they migrate overhead.  

Doctor Dad
In addition to my bird stuff, I am the father of three young birders.  We enjoy feeding and watching the birds in our yard, and trips to see local rarities, as well as unusual birds in our travels across the United States and beyond.

You can see more about my professional work at LinkedIn, or follow my daily birding and other activities on Facebook.

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