John Sterling

Birding Guide

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About John Sterling

Starting at the age of 11, John has been birding for 52 years and was fortunate to have many of the country’s top birders as mentors by ages 13-15. He became one of the first dozen or so teenaged birders to achieve the goal of over 600 species in the United States and shortly thereafter entered the Wildlife Management program at Humboldt State University. John embarked on a career in ornithology in 1982 with field work for Arizona State University followed by many years at the U.S. Forest Service’s Redwood Sciences Laboratory and the Pacific Southwest Research Station. His love of birding took him to assignments to Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru which led to an eight-year Avian Ecologist position at the Smithsonian Institution where he continued his research in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Russia and Canada. Upon his return to California, he worked for eight years for environmental consulting firms where he learned about regulatory processes. He has been an independent consultant since 2008 for clients such as The Nature Conservancy, The International Alliance Program at the National Audubon Society, the California Rice Commission, the Kern Water Bank Authority and the Center for Natural Lands Management. John is currently monitoring bird populations at California’s Kern Water Bank and leading international birding tours.

John has long been recognized as one of the leading authorities on California bird distribution, status and natural history. He is currently ranked number 2 with an average of 289 species in each of the state’s 58 counties, with four counties over 400 species. He is one of a few with a state list of over 600 species. John has served in many positions including as the original eBird editor for all of Northern California, a key member of the state’s Technical Advisory Committee on the Bird Species of Special Concern, the state editor of the Audubon Christmas Bird Counts, a member of the California Bird Records Committee and as an editor for “Western Birds”, a peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Western Field Ornithologists. He has served as the President or Vice President of the Central Valley Bird Club for 16 years. Always keen to find a rare bird, John has discovered and documented first California records of Oriental Greenfinch, Taiga Flycatcher, Falcated Duck, Eastern Winter Wren, European Whimbrel; and several first country records in Peru and Ecuador along with South America’s only Eurasian Curlew in coastal Argentina. He has birded in 50 countries so far and plans on many more!

John Sterling's Upcoming Tours

LEADERS
Kevin Loughlin, Pedro Guaycha, and John Sterling

/ BIRDS & PHOTO

LEADERS
Kevin Loughlin, Pedro Guaycha, and John Sterling

/ BIRDS & PHOTO