Hi, I'm Lauretta Young, the owner and principal guide of Portland Birdwatching Experiences. I am a retired physician who still practices part-time. I also teach at Portland State University. I have a biology degree and have been involved with the Audubon Society for a number of years.
Growing up in Wyoming, one of my first enduring memories is of the daily presence of meadowlarks and bluebirds. When we moved to the city I greatly missed the sounds of bird song which were so prominent in my youth, and so became a seeker of birds. This has led to many wonderful adventures in travel, both far away and close to home.
My Philosophy of Birding
Birding is a peaceful hobby that helps me to be more aware of my immediate surroundings. I have a lifelong bird list for identification, but my other major interest is in the biology of the birds I see--what do they eat, how do they nest, where do they go in the winter. I will be happy to share this information with you if you are interested.
Birding can be an avenue to learning more about the areas you travel to, such as local plants, habitats, ecology and history. I am very familiar with local history and the relationship of the native inhabitants of Oregon to the land. For example, the native peoples' use of local foods such as camas, wapato and salmon. We can approach a birdwatching tour in many ways, from a relaxed day observing, to incorporating a more intensive learning experience about local matters.
My favorite birding memories outside of Oregon are:
- a trip with Hawaii Forest and Trail to a native Hawaiian forest on the big island where I saw an endangered Iiwi bird sipping nectar out of red flowers in the Ohia trees.
- seeing a flock of avocets fly by and land in front of us on a stream in the wetlands preserve near Cozumel.
In Oregon, some of my best memories are:
- in my own back yard, watching a flock of California quail with the adults in the cherry tree picking fruit and dropping to the chicks waiting below.
- the marsh wren nest full of babies I found in the wetlands behind my back yard.
- the horned owl I had heard for many nights finally making an appearance on the wood duck house to preen for several minutes while I got out my binocs and called all the neighbors to come look!
- the return of the green herons and violet green swallows which signals spring, or the thousands of tundra swans with an occasional trumpeter in the ponds at Ridgefield preserve.