Keynote Speaker: Alvaro Jaramillo

International bird guide and author Alvaro Jaramillo will share his knowledge and insight into a birder's brain. Come hear his lighthearted and informative explanation of how we identify birds and why birding is a great addition to anyone's life.

The Birder Brain and Why Birding is for Everyone

Birding is a ton of fun, it gets you outside, you meet great people, you see gorgeous birds, and it works your brain! Much of the brain exercise is about learning and recognizing, in other words identifying birds. Most bird identification lectures focus on field marks and the specifics of separating species A from species B. But few ask exactly how we identify birds. What is our brain going through in order to do this? How does our brain get tripped up during bird identification -- ever encountered the "leaf bird," the "branch bird," or the worse one of all, "the plastic bag snowy owl?" Why do experts identify birds almost without thinking, while the rest of us need to struggle? Are they different than the rest of us, or are there tricks? Truth is that bird identification is pretty tricky stuff, but our brain is wired to shortcut much of the thinking involved in doing it. The trick is training yourself to do it like a pro. And that is the aim of this presentation -- a lighthearted but informative explanation of how the heck they do it. In turn we also realize how birding is for everyone, and a great addition to anyone's life.

Alvaro Jaramillo was born in Chile but began birding in Toronto, Canada, where he lived as a youth. He was trained in ecology and evolution with a particular interest in bird behavior. He is the author of the Birds of Chile, an authoritative yet portable field guide to Chile's birds. He recently wrote the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of California. Alvaro writes the "Identify Yourself" column in Bird Watcher's Digest. He also runs a birding and nature tour company Alvaro's Adventures, where the focus is to have fun, learn a thing or two, and truly enjoy nature. Alvaro lives with his family in Half Moon Bay, California.

Leader Biographies

Linda Angerer

Linda Angerer is a U.S. Forest Service wildlife Biologist and currently the Bat Coordinator for California's National Forests. Events:

David Arsenault

The Plumas Audubon Society is a small (200-member) chapter based in Quincy, CA where David Arsenault has lived since 2005. As a career wildlife biologist, he has studied wildlife, with a focus on birds, throughout the western U.S. and the Americas for more than 20 years. David became involved with Audubon in 1997 leading field trips for the Lahontan Audubon Society while attending graduate school in Reno. After moving to Quincy, he signed on as Plumas Audubon's field trip coordinator and then served as chapter president for 5 years. Now, as Executive Director, David is leading Plumas Audubon's science-based conservation and education program in northern California. Events:

Skip Augur

Skip Augur has been an avid local birder and served Altacal Audubon in various capacities for over 30 years. Events:

Jon Aull

Jon Aull received his master's degree studying parks and natural resources in the recreation department at Chico State. He is the education coordinator for the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. Events:

Amy Darwin & Everett Ayers

Amy Darwin & Everett Ayers have lived in Paradise since 2009. Even after backpacking in the Grapevine Mountains of Death Valley and in the redwoods along the North Coast, they still feel they've barely begun to see California. At home, they've identified more than 70 species of birds. They hope to lengthen their list by adding even more native plants to their oak and pine landscape, and by continuing to improve their observation skills. Events:

Donald Beers

Don Beers worked for the California State Park System for over 30 years. The Roads, Trails and Resource Section that he supervised were responsible for the District’s trial construction and maintenance, backcountry road re-engineering and maintenance, and watershed restoration project implementation. Don has been one of the lead instructors in the National Trails Training Program, and the California State Park Trails Training Program. This included working on developing the curriculum for these two programs. He has lectured and presented workshops at State, National and Professional trail conferences. Don is currently working on the California State Park’s Trails Handbook revision and is one of the principal authors of that handbook. Events:

Jay Bogiatto

Jay Bogiatto, M. S., teaches Waterfowl Biology and Wetland Management, Ornithology, Mammalogy, and Advanced Zoology in the Biology Department at CSU, Chico (CSUC). Jay also serves as Faculty Advisor for the CSUC Chapter of the California Waterfowl Association, and Co-Faculty Advisor for Omicron Theta Epsilon, the CSUC biology honor society. In addition, Jay serves as Curator of the CSUC Vertebrate Museum. Events:

Mike Boyd

Mike Boyd holds a degree in Biology and Nursing. He has been birding since the 1980s. He worked as an Emergency Department RN for several years prior to becoming the Department Chair for Allied Health, Program Director and Instructor for the Paramedic Program at Butte College. He also volunteered in Glacier National Park in Montana doing wildlife monitoring including a two year Mountain Goat study. He was a member of the Altacal Audubon Society board. He has enjoyed the many birding opportunities of the Sacramento Valley and has a special liking for the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Events:

Jim Burcio

Jim Burcio graduated from Humboldt State College with a degree in Wildlife Management and Biology. Jim carved his first decoy in 1974 and since then has competed nationally, judged at the three major carving shows on the west coast, as well as the World Championships in Ocean City, Maryland. His work has been displayed at several museums. Since the early 1990's, Jim has taught bird carving seminars for the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association. In 2010, and 2012, Jim was selected by the Ward Foundation in Salisbury, Maryland to be an instructor in their National Endowment for the Arts Grant. Events:

Carol Burr

Carol Burr, PhD, is Professor Emerita from Chico State, where she taught literature in the English Department for 37 years and served in a number of administrative positions. Married to Roger Lederer, an ornithologist, she learned about birds and became an active bird watcher on travels around the world. In retirement, she returned to a childhood love of drawing and illustrated Dr. Lederer's The Birds of Bidwell Park (2009), using pen and colored pencils. She is also the co-author with her husband of Latin for Bird Lovers, published by Timber Press in 2014. Events:

Diego Bustamante

Diego Bustamante is an avid birder who lives in Paradise. He is 17 years old, and started birding in 2011 at the age of 12, learning to identify birds in his backyard. He has participated in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Project FeederWatch (tallying birds in one's yard twice a week during the winter months) for 3 years. Diego has been active with the Altacal Audubon Society for several years, and has begun leading trips for them. Birding is his favorite hobby, but his big passion is music. He is a classical pianist, and is going to pursue a degree in piano performance starting in the fall of 2017. Events:

Dean Carrier

Dean Carrier has been a life-long wildlife biologist (his first bird book is dated “Christmas, 1943”). Graduating from Humboldt State University, he worked professionally for the Arizona Game and Fish Department and then for the U.S. Forest Service where he was responsible for a variety of endangered species work locally, regionally and nationally until his retirement in 1991. As a frustrated left-brained individual with right-brained yearnings (he couldn't sketch a critter that looked like one if he wanted to) he found his artistic niche in photography which he has been active in for 45 years. He travels both domestically and abroad to pursue his bird photography habit and uses his images (and others) for PowerPoint presentations on nature and ecology for grammar school children in Butte County. Events:

Ranger Zack Chambers

Since 2002 Zack Chambers has been a State Park Ranger and is currently working in the Valley Sector of the Northern Buttes District, which is where he considers his home. Events:

Andrew Conlin

Andrew Conlin has worked as a Soil Scientist for the NRCS for 28 years. After mapping soils in IL, MN, NY and the San Joaquin Valley, he completed the Soil Surveys of Butte County and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Andrew has provided soils tours for 20 years, explaining the relationships between soils, geomorphology, and vegetation. Events:

Brad Cooke

Brad Cooke has a California Chico State University degree in Recreation Administration. Since 1999, he has been an associate faculty at Butte Community College in outdoor education and has worked for 25 years in Butte County supporting natural history, native ways, and environmental education with an appreciation and knowledge for the hidden gems in Northern California. He has been a consultant for National Wildlife Refuges and an education programs director throughout Northern California. He has served as an experiential educator for thousands of students and teachers throughout Northern California. Brad is a eco-tour and raft guide with a huge variety of knowledge on our amazing North State. Events:

Charlie Cornell

Charles Cornell holds a degree in Geography. He has birded in Butte County since the 1970s, worked for the U. S. Forest Service, and volunteered in Outdoor & Environmental Education programs. Living near rice fields in Butte County, he enjoys stepping outside at night and hearing goose music and Great Horned Owls. Events:

Robert Cromwell

Robert Cromwell is the education specialist at Lassen Volcanic National Park and coordinates the park education efforts. The Lassen education program serves schools in more than 30 counties and also facilitates youth camping experiences each summer. He has previously worked at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area as an education ranger. Events:

David Dahnke

Dave Dahnke has been actively birding since 1980. He has birded throughout the United States and Eastern Europe. Events:

Tim Davis

Tim Davis is a retired California State Park Ranger who has worked at a variety of parks throughout the state including Anza Borrego Desert SP, Emerald Bay/D.L. Bliss SP, and Hollister Hills SVRA. Local parks include Lake Oroville SRA, Bidwell Mansion SHP, and Bidwell-Sacramento River SP. As a Ranger he began leading hikes in the Sutter Buttes shortly after the State acquired Peace Valley and now continues as a State Park Volunteer. Events:

Michael Denega

Mike Denega, now retired, began his teaching career at Humboldt State University teaching Biological Statistics, Human Anatomy and Martial Arts. His love and enthusiasm for the biological sciences spread to El Dorado County where he has spent time since 1973 serving the science departments at Folsom Lake College (formally American River College) and El Dorado High School. Read more about Mike at Events:

Jerry Dirnberger

While living in the wilds of Montana in the fall of 1999, Jerry Dirnberger, the internationally unknown birder and adventurer, heard the ‘not so quiet' whispers of the migrating snow geese saying “head south, head south”. Since then he has spent his winters both in Colombia, SA and Chico (where he has homes) enjoying the friendship of the birds he has encountered along the way. Events:

Dan Dugan

Dan Dugan is best known as the inventor of the automatic microphone mixer. He has been a technical mentor for the Nature Sounds Society since 1990. Dugan has recorded surround sound in many national parks including Muir Woods, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite. He has published six “relaxation CD's” of nature sounds with and a full-length dawn chorus from Mariposa Grove in Yosemite with Events:

Steve Emmons

Steve Emmons has been the Wildlife Refuge Manager for Sacramento and Delevan National Wildlife Refuges (Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Willows, CA) since 1996. Prior to his current position, he served as the Assistant Refuge Manager at Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge in Lake Arthur, LA (1990-1996) and the Fish and Wildlife Specialist at the Fort Carson Military Reservation, Colorado Springs, CO (1982-1990). Steve's primary interests include nature photography (particularly wildlife photography) and observing birds. Events:

Matt Forster

Matt Forster is an avid outdoorsman and birder whose love of the land has him interested in conservation of habitat and restoration. He studied waterfowl biology and wetland management as well as ornithology at CSUChico. Events:

Bill Frey

Bill Frey generally resides and birds in Carson City, NV. When he is not there, he can sometimes be found wandering the many bird areas of California. Events:

Henry Ganzler

Henry Ganzler has been an avid photographer and videographer since the middle 70's, and studied photography and videography formally for several years at Butte College. His photographs have won awards in exhibits and contests at the Butte College art gallery, The Chico Chamber of Commerce, and an All Chico photography contest in the early 90's. Henry started his own video production company, Mindful Productions, in 1990. He has produced travel, cultural, and educational videos in many parts of the world, as well as training videos for businesses, and the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health. His video “Wetlands Wildlife - The Sacramento Valley” was selected and shown at the 2010 Gallery 1078 Film Festival in Chico and was shown at the Chico Museum as part of its series on the Rice Fields. Henry was a member of the Avenue 9 Gallery's Artist Guild until the gallery closed in 2014. He exhibits his photographs in various places in the Chico area. Events:

Dawn Garcia

Dawn Garcia works professionally as a wildlife biologist and is an active conservationist with the Altacal Audubon Society. She has had her federal bird banding license since 1992 and has initiated studies with songbirds and owls. Birding, bird-banding, and enjoying hikes and the beauty of nature are some of her passions. Events:

Ian Gledhill

Ian Gledhill is the lead naturalist at Shady Creek Outdoor School where he leads birding adventures every week. While Ian is deeply interested in all things in nature, birds are his passion. Ian travels throughout California chasing rarities, and trying to pump up his life list. While well-versed in birds throughout California, Ian's favorite areas to bird are both Humboldt and Yuba Counties, where he has spent a majority of his life. He loves birding by sound and sharing his passion with those he encounters. Ian looks forward to finding any unusual birds that might be in the area during Snow Goose Festival and getting as many species as possible on his trips. Events:

Gaylord Grams

Gaylord Grams is an avid local birder and leads many field trips for the Altacal Chapter of the Audubon Society. Events:

Herman Gray

Herman Gray is a retired physician. While traveling the world in his profession, he has enjoyed viewing many bird species. He is also an active Gray Lodge Wildlife Area docent. Events:

Scott Grist

Scott Grist was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Chico for 15 years. He is an active teacher, naturalist, activist and volunteer in the community. He was trained by Tom Brown Jr. and worked for his wilderness survival school, The Tracker School, on the East Coast. He worked for years as a counselor at the local Boy's and Girl's Club where he developed and led an outdoor program for at-risk teenagers. A large part of his studies and teaching revolve around the Sit Spot and Bird Language, both essential in wilderness survival and nature awareness. Recently he has kept busy leading nature hikes in Upper Bidwell Park for adults and families. Events:

Timmarie Hamill (The Stream Team)

Timmarie Hamill holds a B.S. in Biology, a Secondary Math and Science Teaching Credential, and a Masters in Science Teaching from California State University at Chico. As a biologist, she has planned and conducted water quality inventories as they relate to fish and wildlife in the private and public sectors for over 20 years. She has served as an Industrial Waste Inspector for the City of Chico, biologist for the Department of Water Resources, Executive Director for The Stream Team, science teacher for a small Charter School, and most recently, project manager for stormwater education and water quality assessment grants. Events:

Wyatt Hersey

Wyatt Hersey is a seasonal Avian Ecologist with Point Blue Conservation Science, an artist, and an environmental educator with Earthbound Skills in Chico. Events:

Kate Howard

Kate Howard is a Partner Biologist for Point Blue Conservation Science, stationed in the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Yuba City. She went to Humboldt State University for her B.S. where she learned to band (and subsequently love) birds at Humboldt Bay Bird Observatory. She received her M.S. through Tarleton State University (TX) looking at Black-shouldered Kites in sugarcane fields of Swaziland. She has worked in Jamaica, San Francisco, Saipan, Michigan, and Wyoming. When she isn't geeking out on birds, she rides and trains western reined cow-horses. Events:

Mike Hubbartt

Mike Hubbartt, author, California State Park Interpreter, and a Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust board member, and hike guide has been actively involved in the preservation of the Sutter Buttes since 1996. Events:

Scott Huber

Scott Huber has been leading birding trips for the last decade, from Mexico to the Arctic. Events:

John W. Hunt

John Hunt has worked as a natural resources professional and project manager for more than 15 years. He is a wildlife biologist and botanist with a Master's Degree in Biology and certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). John is the Executive Director of the Northern California Regional Land Trust. Events:

Todd Jesse

Todd Jesse is the lead park guide at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center of Lassen Volcanic National Park. He enjoys sharing his passion for the winter environment with anyone adventurous enough to explore with him! Todd has been working in parks for just over a decade and fell in love with Lassen Volcanic in the summer of 2013 when he came to work his first season there. Before settling in at Lassen, Todd spent time as a ranger at Grand Canyon National Park and as a Peace Corps volunteer, serving for three years with the Peruvian equivalent of the National Park Service. He began his career at a small municipal park while obtaining a degree in geology from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Events:

Birder, Phil Johnson

Phil Johnson has been a long time board member of the Altacal Audubon Society, and he has coordinated the Oroville and Chico Christmas Bird Counts. Events:

Phil Johnson

Phil Johnson has been a long time board member of the Altacal Audubon Society, and he has coordinated the Oroville and Chico Christmas Bird Counts. Events:

Bob Joseph

Bob Joseph has been carving birds since 1985. Along with carving and painting, he has entered many competitions and received many first place ribbons, and several best of show awards. He enjoys bird watching, and is presently working with the Fallon, Nevada Wood Duck Project. This gives him an opportunity to actually hold many of the birds that he carves. Bob is presently the president of Pacific Flyway Decoy Association. Events:

Maya Khosla

Maya Khosla has written Web of Water (nonfiction) and Keel Bone (poems). She has won writing awards from Bear Star Press (poetry) and Flyway Journal (nonfiction). Awards from Sacramento Audubon, Patagonia, Save Our Seas, and other foundations have supported her screenwriting efforts devoted to climate change impacts on sea turtles and wildfires across the American West. She has written for Shifting Undercurrents and Village of Dust, City of Water, award-winning documentary films. Searching for the Gold Spot is her first experience directing a documentary film. Essays related to the wildfire issue have been published in YES Magazine and Nature Writing.


Jeff Kidd

Jeff Kidd is a raptor ecologist who maintains various state and federal permits authorizing capture and take of threatened and endangered species ranging from butterflies to eagles. Since 1993 Jeff has concentrated his efforts in raptor research and banded approximately 10,000 raptors from 33 species throughout the western United States, Canada, and Scandinavia with an emphasis in California. Jeff is the Vice-President of Kidd Biological, Inc, a small consulting firm located in Murrieta, CA that focuses on research and management of raptors and various endangered species. Jeff is currently conducting research on Rough-legged Hawks throughout North America, Peregrine Falcons in coastal northern California and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Northern Harriers along southern California coastal zones and Burrowing Owls statewide to name a few. Events:

Steve King

Steve King became interested in bird watching about 40 years ago. He enjoys birding on his hikes and walks both in and out of the Chico area. Steve's favorite birding spots are Upper Bidwell Park, the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, and the Oxidation Ponds. In the summer months, you can also find him hiking and birding the many trails in Lassen National Park. Events:

Paul Kirk

Paul Kirk is the Programs Manager for the Northern California Regional Land Trust and has a Master's Degree in Botany. Paul taught public school for 12 years and is passionate about environmental education. He has worked in natural resource management since 2003. Events:

Shelly Kirn

Shelly Kirn teaches conservation biology, ecology, evolution, and several other classes at CSU, Chico and is faculty co-advisor to the biology honor society (Omicron Theta Epsilon). Shelly has been birding for almost 25 years and enjoys traveling throughout the US (and occasionally beyond) to see birds and other wildlife. Events:

Jesse Klingler

Jesse Klingler wears many hats in the outdoor industry. He teaches fly fishing, guides fishing and hiking trips, and helps to run a fly fishing tool manufacturing company. He's also involved with land management and volunteers as a docent at Dye Creek Preserve. Events:

Mike and Kathy Landini

Mike and Kathy Landini own and manage the Divide Ranch with the help of their adult children Nicole and Tony. They are passionate about creating environments on both land that they own and land that they lease, which support the family and the cattle as well as the land and the wildlife. They also direct-sell their 100% Grass-Fed Beef at farmers' markets, including the Chico Certified Farmers' Market on Saturdays. Events:

Roger Lederer

Dr. Roger Lederer is Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at California State University, Chico, whose expertise is ecology, science education, and ornithology. He has published over thirty scientific research papers and seven books, including Ecology and Field Biology, Amazing Birds (in seven languages), Birds of Bidwell Park, Latin for Bird Lovers, and Beaks, Bones, and Birdsongs. Dr. Lederer has served as a consultant to governments, private organizations, and schools on environmental issues, and presented hundreds of public presentations to a wide variety of audiences. He has been consulted by BBC, National Geographic, National Public Radio, National Canadian Television, Guinness World Records, and many other organizations, publications, and individuals for his expertise on birds.

He is still active as a member of the local science fair board, maintaining his popular website,, and exploring the world. He has traveled to 100 countries and has been a guest speaker and naturalist on several cruise lines across the world, speaking on ecology, natural history, and geology. Events:

Henry Lomeli

A lifetime outdoorsman, Henry Lomeli has been a wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for 26 years, responsible for a big range of land in Northern California and often responding to animal control calls ranging from skunks to mountain lions. Twelve years ago, inspired to share his love of the outdoors with others, Henry founded Sacramento River Eco Tours, which takes curious customers on an educational tour down the Sacramento River and Eagle Creek Ranch Eco Tours, safari-style tours, in the beautiful foothills of Northern California. In 2017 he added Sutter Buttes Eco Tours. Henry has also been practicing his survival skills since he was young that he put to use during his appearance as the survival expert on an episode of the Discovery Channel show “Tethered” in 2014. Henry spends his summer on the river and as an actively engaged member of the California outdoor community! Events:

Laura Lush

Laura Lush is a life-long Yuba-Sutter resident, artist, high school teacher, nature enthusiast, and avid birder. She has been active with Middle Mountain/Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust for over a dozen years, and is currently on the board of Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes. Events:

Christine Mac Shane

Christine Mac Shane has been painting for over 40 years and teaching for more than 12. Her easy step-by-step guidance will have you painting in no time! Christine has been a muralist in the Northern California region for over 20 years and loves that the rich wildlife and landscapes provide such ongoing inspiration. Events:

Kyle Marsh

Kyle Marsh is a Partner Biologist with Point Blue Conservation Science. He has been researching and identifying birds for the past four years. Kyle has spent the last three years traveling around North America working field biology jobs to gain a deeper understanding of our environment. Now, he works full time monitoring and implementing conservation practices on working lands to help the people and wildlife that share the land. Events:

Jan Martinez

Jan Martinez is a member of the Altacal Audubon and Plumas Audubon Societies and has taken part in the Oroville Christmas Bird Count and grebe counts on Lake Almanor. She enjoys hiking and birding in the Northstate and plans to expand her "birding horizons" in the future. Jan lives in the Oroville foothills and has identified over 40 species of birds that have visited her home. Events:

Charlie Mathews

Charlie Mathews and his family have been farmers in the area north of Marysville for multiple generations. He and family members are leaders in the rice industry and waterfowl conservation. Events:

John "Mac" McCormick

John “Mac” McCormick is a retired high school biology teacher of 37 years and has been an avid birder since the 1970s. He is the former co-director of the San Francisco State University (SFSU) Sierra Nevada Field Station Bird Banding Program. Mac has literally handled thousands of birds during the seventeen summers he spent banding. This intimate contact with birds in hand has given Mac insights to identification tips not always mentioned in field guides. Since his retirement in 2000, he has traveled the world bird watching in such exotic places such as the Peruvian Amazon Basin, Brazil, Central America, Australia, and Japan. Events:

John Meserve

Is a professional Consulting Arborist and Horticulturist working throughout Northern California. He is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified and Certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, as well as being a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists. Besides being a full time consultant he has worked as an adjunct instructor at U.C. Berkeley teaching horticulture and plant identification to Landscape Architecture students in the School of Environmental Design, as well as teaching Landscape Management in the U.C. Berkeley Cooperative Extension program. Meserve considers himself a tree and plant enthusiast, spending much free time in his garden and landscaped property, and helping others in theirs. New to birding, he is excited to share his extensive knowledge of the tree world with those that study and focus on the birds that live there. He looks forward to turning 'that tree' into something identifiable and known to participating birders. Events:

Maureen Morales

Maureen Morales has been birding in earnest since 1984 when she was a ranger in the Inyo National Forest in the Eastern Sierras. Since then, she has worked and birded in Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier Bay, Denali, and most recently on pelagic trips in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. Events:

Mary Muchowski

Mary Muchowski has worked as a wildlife technician/biologist since 1988 with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. She has lived in the Chico area since 1983, and really enjoys the bird-life of the area, especially in the winter! Events:

Gary Nielsen

Gary Nielsen has birded for more than 40 years in Butte county and beyond. A particular love are birds of open horizons, be they raptors or seabirds. Since retiring from teaching in 2007, he has spent more than a year in the seabird colonies of the NW Hawaiian Islands, including 11 months on Midway, among the 2 million Albatross. Events:

David O'Keefe

David O'Keefe has been observing birds one way or another for most of his life. He has done work for Pt. Reyes bird observatory and has helped with bird surveys across northern California. Currently he is actively renaming the birds of the north state with the titles the birds themselves use. Events:

Joseph O'Neil

Joseph O'Neil is a Certified Arborist with over 30 years of experience in the tree and nursery field, working at Mendon's Nursery in Paradise for 9 years and currently as a consulting arborist. He has an Art degree from CSU Chico and has traveled the North State extensively. He's been birding since 2003 and loves sharing his knowledge regarding tree resources for birds. Events:

Heidi Ortiz

Heidi Ortiz is local to Northern California. She moved to Chico for school and graduated in 2013 with a degree in Recreation Administration, with an option in Parks and Natural Resource Management. She has experience working with the Chico Park Division as their Volunteer Coordinator. She has worked as an outdoor education instructor with Kids and Creeks since 2011 and Rancho Esquon since 2013. Events:

Owl Monitoring Team

Bio to be provided soon. Events:

Ruth Paz

Ruth Paz was a member of the Central Sierra Audubon Society in Sonora, CA for 20 years. She has especially enjoyed participating in the Christmas Bird counts. She has recently joined the Altacal Audubon Society. Events:

Victor Paz

Victor Paz was a member of the Central Sierra Audubon Society in Sonora, CA for 20 years. He has recently moved to Tehama County and is now a member of the Altacal Audubon Society. Events:

Sharon Perry

Sharon Perry has worked as an environmental educator. She is currently the chair of the Nature Sounds Society. Events:

Mike Peters

Mike Peters has been the Wildlife Refuge Manager for Colusa and Sutter National Wildlife Refuges (NWR), part of the Sacramento NWR Complex, since 1999. Prior to that he was a wildlife biologist at the San Luis NWR Complex from 1992 through 1999. Mike enjoys providing quality habitat for wildlife and providing refuge visitors high quality recreational opportunities. Events:

Jeffrey Rich, Wildlife Photographer

Jeffrey Rich graduated from Humboldt State University in 1983 with a BS in Wildlife biology, in 1985 with a BS in Biology, and a life science teaching credential in 1986. In 2012 Jeff completed his master's degree in science teaching and education at the University of Texas. Jeff has been teaching science and photography, and photographing nature professionally since 1987. He is currently teaching at Stellar Charter School in Redding, CA.

Jeff's love of the outdoors stems from his northern California upbringing. This enjoyment of nature, with his biological background has proved to be a perfect complement in producing stunning nature photographs and teaching others about wildlife and nature photography. A self-taught nature photographer, Jeff considers himself more of a photo-naturalist, producing artful images of Mother Nature. He is a wildlife and bird photography specialist with photos published in National Wildlife, National Geographic, Audubon and many other publications.

Jeff has also written a number of articles about wildlife and birds. His first book, Baby Birds, is the topic of one of his photographic passions, published by Rio Nuevo. His second book released in April 2016, The Complete Guide to Bird Photography, helps anyone improve their wildlife photos. Jeff has been teaching nature photo workshops and tours since February 1991 and these are always a great adventure with wonderful photo opportunities. He is a perfect nature photography instructor with his extensive background as a naturalist, teacher and nature photographer.


Michael Rogner

Michael Rogner is a riparian ecologist for River Partners and has worked on the Sacramento River since 2003. He has designed and implemented over 2,000 acres of riparian restoration projects throughout California and Nevada. Events:

Shane Romain

Shane Romain is passionate about the outdoors and outdoor education. He was the Supervising Park Ranger for the City of Chico for the past nine years and is now the Park Services Coordinator. He teaches Parks and Natural Resources Management at CSUC and is the Coordinator of the Outdoor Education program at Rancho Esquon. Since he created the program at Rancho Esquon in 2008, over 7,000 students have been able to experience the wonder of our wetlands thanks to the generosity of the Hofmann Foundation and the Community Youth Center. Events:

Marilyn Rose

Marilyn Rose is the owner of Out of This World - Discount Binoculars located in Mendocino, CA. Events:

David Samuels

David Samuels is a retired middle school teacher who now enjoys spending part of his summers volunteering in our National Parks as an Astro VIP - Astronomy Volunteer in the Parks. He has presented solar viewing, star parties, and astronomy outreach programs in parks located in California, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Maine. Events:

Peter Sands

Peter Sands is one of the landowners of the Dean Ranch in the Sutter Buttes. He is a naturalist for the Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes and an enthusiastic ornithologist. He has been the compiler of the Peace Valley Christmas bird count since 1990. Events:

Ron & Nancy Sanford

Ron & Nancy Sanford have worked as professional travel & wildlife photographers since 1978. They've traveled the world producing images for a host of magazines, books and calendars, including National Geographic, Audubon, Time, Gourmet, Life, and dozens more. Events:

Miguette Sansegundo

Miguette Sansegundo is a life long professional gardener who moved to Chico ten years ago from Long Island, NY. The change in climate and vegetation type has been a fascination for her. Working first at the local native plant nursery to get her bearings and later exploring the area on her own, she has come to know the native flora in the area as well as that of her former seaside home. She is particularly happy to be birding in such a choice and special location. Events:

Mauricio Schrader

Mauricio Schrader boomeranged back to birding in the last decade, and enjoys all aspects as an amateur. He was first introduced to birds by his 6th grade teacher in the Appalachian Mountains. He has a special interest in birding by ear and behavioral bird trivia. His favorite quote is: "Most of us who follow birds are partly scientist, partly sportsman, and partly poet." Leon Dawson, 1923 Events:

James Shipps

James Shipps is a graduate from the Chico State Recreation Administration Program; he is currently interning with the California State Parks Lake Oroville Visitor Center acquiring greater Interpretation abilities, as well as working as an Environmental Outdoor Educator at the Fore bay Aquatic Center. He has assisted in the annual monitoring of Bald Eagles, Bank Swallows, Grebes, and Peregrine Falcons, when working for the Department of Water Resources as a Fish & Wildlife Scientific Aide. As a Fisheries Technician with Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, James was engaged in many types of fisheries research, such as: Escapement Surveys, Rotary Screw Trap monitoring, and Redd monitoring surveys on the Feather River. Events:

Bill Smith

Bill Smith is a retired Professional Forester who has resided in in Chico since 1975. He has a BS in Forest Management from Michigan Technological University and retired as the “Forest Silviculturist” from the Plumas National Forest in 2010. His forte in the Forest Service was large reforestation project logistics and Service Contract Administration. Notable accomplishments include serving on the Bidwell Park Commission, securing the three acre “Blue Oak Reserve” within Hillview Terrace Subdivision, and spearheadimg the design and build-out of Baroni Park, a Chico Neighborhood Park.

Bill leads a Chico Meetup Hiking Group and stays active in Community affairs. Currently, Bill is a docent at the Abbey of Our Lady of New Clairvaux, in Vina, Ca., where he leads tours. The Abbey is home to 25 Trappist monks, and the property played an important role in California history.


Jeff P. Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeff Smith has 25 years of experience studying the breeding and migration/movement ecology of various raptors throughout western North America, and assessing and developing conservation solutions to minimize and mitigate the impacts of energy, residential, and other large-scale developments on migrating and breeding raptors. For the past 6 years, he has worked as an ecological consultant at H. T. Harvey & Associates, based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. For the previous 13 years, he served as the Science Director at HawkWatch International, a Utah-based non-profit dedicated to raptor conservation, where he coordinated a network of long-term raptor migration studies and research projects in 10 primarily western states. His experience includes operating raptor migration banding stations in six western states, and extensive satellite-based tracking of several raptor species, including the ongoing collaborative study of Rough-legged Hawks with Jeff Kidd. Dr. Smith currently serves on the Steering Committee for the California-Nevada Golden Eagle Working Group, on the California Swainson's Hawk Technical Advisory Committee, and as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Raptor Research. Events:

Lise Smith-Peters (Friends of Bidwell Park)

Lise Smith-Peters is Development Director for the College of Behavioral and Social Science at California State University, Chico. She is a team member of Chico State's central advancement office and responsible for the fundraising efforts of the College. Prior to joining Chico State, Lise served the City of Chico Park Division for nine years as Park Services Coordinator/Volunteer Coordinator, which involved establishing a pro-active park volunteer program, grant writing and development efforts for Bidwell Park and serving as staff liaison to the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission. In this position, she helped promote volunteerism and stewardship of the Park and researched and wrote reports on park policies. Events:

Ken Sobon

Ken Sobon is an avid birder, field trip leader, and Vice President of Altacal Audubon Society. He has worked the last 5 seasons volunteering and assisting, and next year will be directing the Northern Saw-whet Owl fall migration monitoring project. In addition Ken has been a science teacher to middle school students in Oroville since 1995. He has shared his love of science and birding with his students both in the classroom and in field. Events:

Bob Solari

Bob Solari has been carving and sculpturing birds from wood since 1975. He has won numerous first place awards in carving competitions, and his work has been displayed in museums and galleries. An Honorary Life Member of the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association, he instructs in the Association seminars, is an active competitor, and is a judge in their annual wildlife art show. Events:

Christina Souta

Christina Souto was born and raised in Hayward, CA where she was introduced to ecology and the environment through spending time with her family hiking, camping, and bird watching. She moved to San Diego, CA to go to college at UCSD and earned her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Systems and Minored in History. She began her work at the California Wolf Center as an intern and was hired as the Program Coordinator leading educational efforts, and onsite Caretaker in 2013. Christina became the Associate Director of California Wolf Recovery in 2016 and is passionate about understanding and supporting the community directly impacted by the recovery of wild wolves. Events:

Julee Spohn

Julee Spohn majored in Commercial Art in college and landed a job with Pacific Bell as a commercial artist drawing and lettering ads. That was in the 60's, and it was a very exciting time to work and live in the Bay Area. Since her retirement, she has stayed active with her painting through workshops and classes and runs a small gallery, Julee's Left Bank Studio, in Oroville. She gets the most pleasure from seeing the delight, frustration, and wonder of “new to painting” individuals when they discover that they can create and paint and have a wonderful time learning the path and finding their gateway to art. Events:

Ranger Matt Stalter

Matthew Stalter has been a Ranger with California State Parks since 2010. Over the years he has had the opportunity to work at a variety of parks, including Castle Rock State Park, Portola Redwoods State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. In June 2015 he transferred to the Northern Buttes District, he now works out of the Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park office. Events:

Marty Steidlmayer

Marty Steidlemayer is a Sutter Buttes landowner and rancher. Marty has an intimate knowledge of the Sutter Buttes landscapes. Events:

Richard Thieriot

Dick Thieriot is a decendent of John & Abby Parrott who purchased Llano Seco Rancho in the 1860s. He is co-owner of Llano Seco Ranch, where he has implemented diverse riparian, freshwater wetland, ranching and farming conservation practices. Events:

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas is a raptor biologist and project manager for Kidd Biological, Inc, a small consulting firm located in southwestern California. Scott maintains state and federal permits authorizing capture and take of various threatened and endangered species ranging from California Gnatcatchers to Golden Eagles. Since 1985 Scott has concentrated his efforts in raptor research and banded approximately 5,000 nestling and adult raptors throughout the western U.S. and Scandinavia with an emphasis in northern and southern California. Events:

Dave Tinker

Dave Tinker is a Biology and Natural Resource teacher at Corning Union High School and is very familiar with this area. He has been very active in this river area for the last 15 years. He has been involved in bird censusing, wildlife viewing, and the maintaining of bird nest boxes. Events:

Andy Tomaselli

Andy Tomaselli is an avid outdoor enthusiast, having spent his young adult life working and living in Yosemite National Park where he first became curious about natural history. He is a self-taught naturalist, learning most of the flora and fauna of California from field guides. Andy enjoys fly fishing, backcountry skiing and has spent many years helping with local Christmas Bird Counts. Andy refers to himself as a "smart alecky laymen" and likes to call his self-taught natural history a "burden of knowledge" that he is more than happy to unload on anyone who asks. He has resided in Chico for over 25 years and has explored the Northstate extensively; especially obscure out of the way locations. When not birding or botanizing with his lovely wife, he likes to pursue his creative side playing and singing American standards on the ukulele. Events:

Scott Torricelli

Scott Torricelli has been an environmental educator and classroom teacher for over 30 years. He is currently bringing "nature into the classroom" as a 5th and 6th grade teacher for the Oroville Elementary School district. He has worked as naturalist for the Yosemite and Headlands Institutes, Slide Ranch Environmental School, The Chico Creek Nature Center, The Audubon Society, Elder Hostel, and the National Park Service. Events:

Pamela Waldsmith

Pamela Waldsmith enjoys a variety of interests: birding; hiking; yoga; kayaking; painting; travel; local, national, and world affairs; reading; pickleball; and photography. As an educator of thirty-five years, she most enjoyed teaching science and expanding her young students' educational experience through field trips. Fueled by her passion for science, she coached her students for the annual Nature Bowl, a fun environmental competition, with her students often placing very high in the final state competition. Since her retirement, she misses the youngsters yet has had more time to pursue her many interests, and she continues learning every day in new ways. Events:

Bruce Webb, Swarovski Optik Field Tech

When Bruce Webb was a student at Chico State, he worked with Tim Manolis to write the "Annotated List of Birds of Butte County." Currently, he is California's Field Technician for Swarovski Optik. Events:

Greg Weddig

Greg Weddig has been recording and documenting natural soundscapes since 2003. He is a member of the Nature Sounds Society, a founding member of the Maryland Nature Recordists, and has taught field recording and editing classes. Greg is currently a volunteer recordist for Lassen Volcanic National Park. Events:

Carrie Wendt

Carrie Wendt is a Partner Biologist for Point Blue Conservation Science and Natural Resources Conservation Science (NRCS) where she works with private land owners to conserve and improve wildlife habitat on local farms and ranches. Before moving to Chico, Carrie attended graduate school at Humboldt State University studying barn owls in Napa Valley vineyards. She has researched birds all over the western US, China and Kenya. Events:

West Coast Falconry

Licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Coast Falconry is the premiere Northern California resource for a full range of hands-on Falconry classes and services. Owner and Master Falconer, Kate Marden, invites you to join her and the staff at the West Coast Falconry Center to get a glimpse inside this incredible and ancient hunting tradition. Our classes and experiences are for falconers and non-falconers alike where you can actually work hands-on with our birds of prey. Our birds of prey have been featured in videos and on shows such as Mythbusters, Showdown of the Unbeatables for Nat Geo, KQED, Wreakreation Nation on the Discovery Channel, Unchained Reaction, Mancations on the Travel Channel, and Methods of Take. Events:

Scotty Weston

Scotty Weston is the Operations Manager for the Olive City Agriculture and Nature Center. Events:

Dale Whitmore

Dale Whitmore was a wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for 37 years. He retired in 2014 and continues to lead wildlife projects with youth organizations and the public on both public and private lands in the Marysville-Yuba City area. He can be contacted at 530 635-0046. Events:

John Whittlesey

John Whittlesey owns Canyon Creek Nursery & Design. He has served as the horticulture chairperson for the Mount Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and is a graduate of the California School of Garden Design. His book, The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias, published by Timber Press, was released in the spring of 2014. John is passionate about changing the way we garden to provide more habitat for birds, pollinators and all forms of wildlife. Events:

Lisa Winslow

Lisa has a life long love for birds, wildlife and nature. She has been a School Counselor for many years in the Chico community. She often spends her weekends out birding and hiking. One of her favorite hot spots in the Chico area is the Oxidation Ponds. Events:

Lindsay Wood

Lindsay Wood has lead ecotours and backcountry trips throughout the Northstate for the past 13 years. A wildlife ecologist by training, Lindsay has conducted fisheries, avian, and herptile research throughout the Sacramento River Watershed. Lindsay comes to us with a strong background in conservation ecology, outdoor education, and water policy. Lindsay graduated from Chico State's Biological Science program after spending her undergraduate years leading the Hands on Science Lab, surveying the Western Pond Turtle, and studying rainforest conservation at her (other) beloved alma mater, the Universidad de Costa Rica. As a biologist for various studies and projects, Lindsay has been involved with several species level conservation studies including the Greater Sage Grouse, Aechmophorus grebes, Steelhead, Chinook salmon. She currently serves on the Butte County Forest Advisory Committee representing the watersheds of Plumas and Lassen National Forests. Events:

Rick Wulbern

Rick Wulbern started birding in 2004. Since then he has birded in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii, and Northern California. Joining Altacal in 2005, he has enjoyed going on many of their field trips and gaining knowledge from other birders. He looks forward to sharing what he has learned. Events: