I am a 27 year old birder, currently living in Wheaton, IL with my wonderful wife of two and a half years, Jennifer. We're both from the beautiful state of Washington, and that's definitely where we want to end up someday. Graduate school at Wheaton College brought us to the Midwest right after getting married (I had already been in Chicagoland for a few years for undergrad). We both completed our first Master's degrees this year, and now I'm working at the college in Student Development as I pursue a second Master's. I also am the Worship Director at Hope Fellowship, a church that meets in Lombard. My schooling and current jobs are indicative of my non-birding passions and interests: biblical languages, theology, and ministry. I have come to the conclusion that I feel most alive when I'm preaching, spending time with my wife, or birding. I've decided to start blogging about the latter.
I can't remember a time when I wasn't into birds. This is primarily because my dad is a birder. I was out on excursions with him before I could even walk, though my ID skills were admittedly underdeveloped at that stage. According to him, I started officially keeping a list when I was a whopping four years old. Some of the first species I bagged were Hairy Woodpecker, Wild Turkey, Bald Eagle, and Snowy Owl. Not bad. A love for beautiful scenery and other wildlife have naturally accompanied my interest in birds.
Having grown up in Washington, the vast majority of my birding career has been spent there. I've made a couple trips to Texas and one to SE Arizona, both of which fueled my love for birding and generously expanded my life list. A trip to Alaska (Seward, Anchorage, and Denali) at the age of 13 did the same and gave birth to my interest in nature photography. While nature photography has grown as another hobby of mine, as it stands today, I'm much more of a birder than a photographer. I'd rather take a decent photo of a great bird than a great photo of decent bird.
Over the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years of college, I had the opportunity to go to Rwanda and Tanzania with my church. Though it wasn't a birding trip by any means, I still studied up beforehand and managed to see a decent amount while there. You can see my bird photos from that trip here, and wildlife photos here. This is the only birding I've done outside of North America. My Lists page will give you an idea of where all I've been.
I'm excited about using this blog as a platform to do things with words while I talk about birds - two of my favorite things. If you follow along, you'll find me wrestling with the tension of living a well-rounded life, offering pieces of what I've learned over the years, and frequently referencing the coffee I drink along the way. I always appreciate feedback so please don't hesitate to comment!