The many Travis Audubon field trips I have been on over the years have definitely helped me become a better birder, and I enjoy helping newer birders discover the pleasures of bird watching.
I spend a lot of time working on my Travis County bird list alone and with groups, and love to bird by ear. (Bird lists can take many forms: day list, location list, year list, county list, and life list are all important to me.)
One of my favorite things to do is give talks about Austin area birds, and how to attract them to yards, greenbelts and parks with native plants. On field trips I enjoy pointing out various native plants that are bird favorites but, no, I don’t know them all.
I love being a field trip leader because it’s a great way to give back to TAS for all the great classes and field trips I’ve been on that have fed my love of birding. I’m also motivated by the enthusiasm and joy expressed by participants for just being outdoors and seeing our beautiful central Texas birds.
What in the world is more fun than being outside all day spying on birds? Being a field trip leader allows me to do that with fun, interesting, and enthusiastic people. I love playing an active role in an organization that has brought and continues to bring such richness to my life. Thank you Travis Audubon!
Long ago when I was 14 years old, I spotted a tall, gray-blue bird standing in a creek with a wiggly crawfish in its mouth. I ran home to get the Texas Birds field guide; I searched until I found a picture of a Yellow Crowned Night Heron. Wow! I was a curious birder from then on; but, not a crazed one until I saw a Golden-cheeked Warble singing in the sunlight on a Travis Audubon “Two Hour Tuesday.”
I enjoy spending time with the kind of people who bird. They are invariably friendly, eager to learn and to teach, and to simply enjoy an outdoor experience. Field trips are the heart of Travis Audubon!
Celeste Treadway is a small animal veterinarian, and has had a lifelong interest in birds, wildlife, and conservation. She birded casually for most of her adult life, but became much more active in birding in 2015, when she hosted her first Birdathon event to raise funds for Travis Audubon Society. Since retiring from her veterinary practice in 2017, she’s enjoyed having more time to dedicate to birding and TAS. She loves spending time with other birders during field trips—she thinks birders are just the nicest people! She volunteers with the Field Trip Committee, and with Golden-cheeked warbler surveys at Baker Sanctuary. Her very favorite birds are the Eastern phoebes and Golden-cheeked warblers that nest every spring on her property in the hill country.
Ever since identifying my first Dark-eyed Junco nearly 40 years ago in my parent’s backyard, I have loved watching birds. Some of my favorite places to bird are in the desert southwest and the Rocky Mountains. And when I’m not birding, I still love being outside, hiking, camping, and fly fishing. I also love teaching people about birds and nature, especially those who are new to birding. As a TAS field trip leader, I regularly lead walks in the Hill Country and western Travis County, occasionally venturing east or south. In October 2021, I started leading monthly Let’s Go Birding Together walks for the LGBTQ+ community. I always want my walks to be welcoming and friendly, an opportunity for everyone to enjoy birding and nature together.
I have been birding for at least 20 years, probably more, and am the classic “bird nerd”. I love to lead field trips for Travis Audubon, and my favorite place to go is a park, usually the state parks. (In this picture I was at Caddo Lake State park on a steamy July afternoon.) Somehow I was lucky enough to be gifted good birding ears, so more often than not I can hear birds before I seen them. I confess this has made me a little lazy in the bird spotting and field identification department, but I am working to rectify this situation.
I think that now more than ever we birders have the opportunity to teach our community about the importance of birds and nature. We need to draw everyone into the fold – young, old, people of all colors and nationalities, abilities, beliefs, even those who have different political persuasions than us. I believe there is nothing more important to our survival than being good stewards of our planet, and helping birds survive is being a good steward. I think we can work together to help everyone to see this important truth.
Jeffrey has been birding since 2012 after a family trip to Rocky Mountain National Park where he bought his first pair of binoculars. He loves birding and spends most of his free time traveling all over in search of birds. He currently works for Travis County Parks where he leads monthly bird walks at Milton Reimers Ranch Park.
Meet Chris Gunter! He believes field trips are a great way to learn about birds and make new birding friends. Leading trips is fun and as much a learning experience for me as it is for those who come on my walks. The birds are certainly the center of attention, but he also enjoys pointing out cool plants and trees and other flora and fauna we come across. Come join us!
John has been active with Audubon organizations in New Jersey and South Carolina and jumped right in with Travis Audubon when he moved to Texas in January 2021. His favorite places include Hornsby Bend, Commons Ford Prairie, Milton Reimers Ranch Park and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (Aquarena Springs) in San Marcos. John also blogs for Travis Audubon and serves as chair of its Advocacy Committee. John’s goal on field trips is to share his enthusiasm for every bird and to inspire new birders to come back looking for more.