What place do you most want to visit? Why?
That's a tough question for a professional traveler. I love everywhere I go. The best part is that I love coming home to Cape May.
Why do you think there are so few female birders and professional tour guides?
I have given this question a lot of thought over the years. I believe that the answer is rather complicated and even subject to debate. Getting to the top of the birder hierarchy, you’ve got to be pretty intense. You need to live for birds for years. This may entail working seasonal jobs and eating lots of canned soup. Finding a steady job, being in a stable relationship, or having a family may be very difficult. Men seem to be more suited for this life style. They’re the hunters. Luckily, we don’t need to use guns anymore. We use binoculars and cameras. Men, as a whole, also seem to be more competitive than women and therefore more driven (illustrated annually at big day events where the men participants far outnumber the women).
The reality is that there are a lot of women birders out there. I guess that many of them treat birding as a hobby rather than a profession. That’s not to say that there aren’t women who are professional naturalists. Some of the sharpest and most devoted field observers are women! Professional tour leading is still a relatively new field. I think that as it grows, more women will find their place.
For me, I consider myself to be very lucky. My career as a tour leader began in Cape May where I was birding everyday, learning from mentors, and working for CMBO. Being an artist has also been important because most tour leaders require more than one source of income.