6. Do you have a preference for writing fiction or nonfiction? If so, why?
Fiction is just nonfiction without being constrained by the facts. I love the latitude of expression nonfiction confers.
7. Can you share a story from your experiences birding with Roger Tory Peterson?
I'll recount my favorite (even if you may have heard it before). It was dawn, May 19, 1984–the first World Series of Birding. Myself, Pete Bacinski, Bill Boyle, David Sibley and Roger Tory Peterson were all standing on an elevated railroad bed at a place called Waterloo in the New Jersey Highlands. The place was celebrated for its diversity of breeding warblers (like Golden-winged Warbler) and as a migrant trap. As the morning dawned and birds broke into song it was Roger who time after time was first to pin the name to the bird. Maybe Pete or Bill or David were holding back. But I can tell you, truly, that on that glorious morning, Roger Tory Peterson was quicker and better than me.
It was the first time I'd seen the man, whose birding skills were legendary, in action. The legend was well founded. Roger Tory Peterson's birding skills were generations ahead of his time.
Just as a footnote to history, I believe that this was the only time Roger and David Sibley ever birded together. The book that brought David's immense talent to public light was still years away and Roger, too, had work yet to publish. But I find myself musing, sometimes, that a torch was passed that morning on that old cinder bed. Ha. Must be the writer in me.
8. If you could give one piece of advice to young birders, what would it be?
That's easy. Just have fun. There are plenty of things in life that are going to get you all wrapped around the axel. Watching birds shouldn't be one of them.