An Ohio Big Day! (in a big year)…

Erik Bruhnke & Katie Andersen - Biggest Week guides

Erik Bruhnke & Katie Andersen – Biggest Week guides

Erik Bruhnke & Katie Andersen were but two of the many talented field trip leaders guiding at the Biggest Week in American Birding. When I heard they were going on a Big Day on May 8th, I asked if they’d be willing to take young “Travis” along. It was a yes, and I handed Travis over to Erik and off he went.

Katie has been birding since the age of one week old and has been interested in birds ever since. A graduate of Gannon University with a BS in Biology, she has spent a summer studying neotropical ornithology in Costa Rica with a focus on the foraging methods of Groove-billed Anis. She has also worked on several research projects in Pennsylvania, including a study on the nesting habitats of Black Terns. She is an active administrator of Birding Ohio, and currently works full time at Wild Birds Unlimited of Erie, PA where she serves as the Store Naturalist, answering questions about bird biology, behavior, and identifying customers’ mystery birds.

Erik Bruhnke is also a lifelong bird fan. Graduating from Northland College with a Natural Resources degree back in 2008, Erik has experienced a broad spectrum of birds and ecosystems. His avian field experiences have taken him throughout many of the northern states; including conducting bird surveys throughout the expanses of the prairie potholes in North Dakota & South Dakota, cavity-nesting surveys in the mountains & coastal regions of western Oregon, and bushwhacking throughout northern Minnesota & northern Wisconsin with breeding bird surveys. For the past five fall seasons Erik has been the count interpreter (hawk pointer-outer guy) at Hawk Ridge in Duluth. He has taught field ornithology several times at Northland College. He is a board member of the Duluth Audubon Society, and offers weekly hikes for the public as well as monthly talks and bird identification workshops through the Duluth Audubon Society and the local nature center in Duluth.
Erik also happens to be one of the friendliest & enthusiastic birders I’ve met which aids him in his current endeavors above as well as his business, Naturally Avian. His biggest aspiration with Naturally Avian is to inspire conservation and environmental awareness through his birding tours, wildlife photography and public presentations. As of 2013, Erik has guided birders from 26 states and four European countries. Erik finds his home in Duluth, MN, where he has shown birders up to 17 species of breeding warblers in single late-spring days, and bog-dwelling Great Gray Owls, Gray Jays and Boreal Chickadees year-round. Although he loves all birds, he is a devoted gull and raptor nerd.
In this fine company, and capable hands the Traveling Trinovid’s year list count broke the 300 species barrier! A great accomplishment in just one month’s time. (This binocular big year began on April 7th and will end April 6, 2014! – Still a lot of adventure ahead.)
Thanks Katie and Erik for the help and Erik head’s up Travis is coming your way again soon! :)