Discover the
Beauty of Birds

Birding and natural history classes, field reports, essays and tours around the Bay Area, California and the West with Ted Pierce.


Ted Pierce birding with group
Ted (on the left) with class on a recent field trip, Photo by John Kirkmire

Ted was born and raised in Yonkers, New York, in Westchester County. His interests as a teen-ager were in the liberal arts, social justice issues and political philosophy. He later attended the City University of New York, where he continued his studies in archeology, music, psychology and literature. He was very active in student political movements (SDS), and when inducted into the army in the mid-‘60’s served as a Conscientious Objector. He left CCNY before graduating and traveled to Europe, visiting cultural sites from Barcelona to Istanbul. Upon returning to New York, he was hired as a statistical assistant in the Community Mental Health Center at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. As an avocation, he wrote Early Music concert reviews for the Soho News and hosted and produced a radio show (Explorations in Early Music) at the Pacifica station WBAI-FM in New York.

In the early ‘70’s he moved to northern Manhattan, next door to Inwood Hill Park. He characterizes it as “the most beautiful park in New York,” and credits his subsequent career as a naturalist to his years spent exploring this park. Under the tutelage of a group of naturalists called the Friends of Inwood Hill Park, he began an informal study of the park’s plants, history, birds and ecology. In 1981 he organized and founded the Inwood-Heights Parks Alliance, a grass-roots non-profit conservation and education organization. As President of the Alliance, he supervised a massive volunteer effort and fund-raising campaign that led to the establishment of the Inwood Parks Resource Center. Alliance programs included ecological education classes for local elementary schools, a community newsletter, glass recycling and summer park restoration efforts by local youth. He also wrote numerous articles on parks and conservation issues for the Heights-Inwood newspaper.

During this time he met Diane Stark, who taught him many of the fundamentals of botany and birding; they married in 1985. Together they spent their time exploring the parks of the tri-state area, studying the plants and birdlife. He moved to Connecticut in 1987, where he established Connecticut Nature Guides, a company that provided nature education courses to children and adults. Travels in Connecticut and New England were interspersed with birding trips to Florida, California, Maine and Trinidad. During this time he also earned a BA in liberal arts from Connecticut State University (Charter Oak College).

After moving to the Bay Area in 1990 his life focused on two things: raising his two daughters – co-parenting with his ex-wife – and continuing his career as a naturalist. Teaching birding became his passion, and he developed courses at adult schools in Piedmont, Albany and Berkeley.

From 1995 to 1998 he created a series of slide presentations on the role of birds in world mythology, art and religion (called Wings of the Gods), which he presented to a variety of wildlife, conservation and other organizations. He also wrote articles on birds for the San Francisco Examiner, the Berkeley Monthly, the Golden Gate Audubon Gull and other publications.

Teaching led to birding trips around California, including the Sierras, the Salton Sea, Klamath and Monterey, and in the last several years tours of Arizona and Texas. He says the next development will be birding and cultural history tours to New York and New England, Europe and Central America.
Upcoming Tours 2019 NEW!
Bolinas Tour
Sat. Nov. 2,  9am-12pm 
Las Gallinas Wetlands, San Rafael

At Las Gallinas hundreds of acres of grasslands, ponds and marshes extend around a small water treatment facility. In the distance, the marshes are surrounded by the beautiful hills of Marin. ..... Read more

Bolinas Tour
Sat. Dec. 14, 10am-4pm
Birds of Bodega Bay and Sonoma Coast

Scenic Bodega Bay, nestled on the Sonoma coast west of Sebastopol, is one of our most exciting Bay Area birding locations in the winter. In recognition of its migration hot-spot status, it has been designated as an IBA (Important Bird Area) by the American Bird Conservancy. .... Read more

Fri-Sunday, Nov. 8-10
A Birder’s Tour of Santa Cruz: Beaches to Redwoods, Shorebirds to Songbirds

Santa Cruz, located just south of San Jose, is known for its beaches, amusement park, surfers and university. But with its dramatic coastline and many parks, this college town is also known for its great birding, especially in the fall and winter. Among the ocean headlands, beaches and forests you can find many ducks, raptors, shorebirds, grebes, pelicans and songbirds. .... Read more