Ebenezar: Thank you so much Mr Scott for making out time to have this Stroll with me. I'd love to know, why have you lived here in Pennsylvania for most of your life? Seems you have a special connection with the Appalachians. . . and from what I gathered, you started writing about nature way back 1978, what has drawn you so much to nature, all this while?
Scott: While I started writing about nature in 1978, I was interested in all things natural from my earliest memories. I can't honestly say what drew me to nature - I think some people are just wired for it. When I was a little boy (up to about age 6) my family lived in the middle of a small city, so it wasn't that I had a lot of direct experience with the woods, but when I was about 7 they moved back to their home county, and we lived in a house right at the base of a small mountain - the forest started at the edge of our yard, and from that moment on I was outside almost constantly. That hasn't changed much in the 47 or so years since then.
Ebenezar: Bird watching is becoming a new hobby for me, I'm sure you it a lot too.What do you think can be learnt from Bird Migration? Considering the fact that humans have the problem of Rural-urban migration, overpopulation, etc
Scott: I think one of most important lessons we can take from bird migration is its universality - at every moment of every day there are birds in migration somewhere in the world, and they knit the globe together in ways that even the great global weather systems fail to do. If ever there was a symbol of unified, global ecology, it's the movement of birds across tens of thousands of kilometers - spanning oceans and hemisphere, crossing immensities of distance the way we cross the street. On the one hand, migratory birds are astoundingly tough - the physiological challenges that they have to overcome to migrate are mind-boggling. There are geese and cranes that fly over the Himalayas at altitudes where humans require external oxygen just to survive. There are birds like the bar-tailed godwit that make a single, nonstop migration of more than 11,000 kilometers, lasting seven to nine days, flying between Alaska and New Zealand across the widest part of the Pacific Ocean - and these are birds that can neither rest on the water without drowning, and which must beat their wings continually to stay in the air. Yet for all their incredible physical abilities, bird migration is a very fragile phenomenon. It depends on a delicate balance between distance, physical ability, seasonally available food supplies, predictable wind and weather systems. The birds depend on widely spaced but criticality important "stopover" sites where they can rest and refuel. Change any of these factors, even a little, and the whole wondrous system can collapse.
Ebenezar: You direct Ornithological programs for National Audubon's famed Hog Island center.. Did you grow up reading 'Birds of America'? And do you have any mentors?
Scott: I was a huge fan of John James Audubon's work, especially his monumental "Birds of America" from the 1830s. There are many other people whose work influenced me - the writings of the naturalist Aldo Leopold (especially his book "A Sand County Almanac"), a naturalist/artist from Pennsylvania named Ned Smith, and of course birders like Roger Tory Peterson. I had many mentors, including a college professor named Sam Gundy who took my interest in recreational birding and opened my eyes to the science of birds. Also many of the staff and hawk watchers at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, which was the world's first sanctuary for birds of prey - I spent countless days there as a kid, and am still involved with the sanctuary.
|A flock of migrating birds (Source: moblog.net)|
Ebenezar: You have authored over two dozen books. One of my favourites is ''Living on the Wind. . .''(Finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer prize). You also published one last year. Should we expect more?
Scott: Thanks…"Living on the Wind" is still my favorite, too, if only because it was so much fun to write. I'm working on two new books right now, including a Peterson reference guide to the owls of North America including Mexico and the Caribbean.
Ebenezar: Finally do you plan retiring soon? Or are there other expeditions you'd love to carry out? maybe studying Bird Migration in Africa or something like that (smiles)
Scott: Writers and naturalists tend never to retire, and I have no plans to. Studying bird migration in Africa would be a wonderful new chapter to start exploring!
Ebenezar: Thank you very much once again for your time sir. Happy World Migratory Bird Day :)
Scott: All the best.
To contact Mr Scott for a talk/booking, you can send an email to; Virginia [at] scottweidensaul [dot] com
Till my next Stroll, Be good; Solve a problem don't be a problem. . .Jesus Loves You
By: Ebenezar Wikina (@Poeticjazz)
THE STROLL, May 2013
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved