Hello, I am Rae,
I am an avid bird watcher having bird watched in the United States and South Africa. I was born in South Africa where I spent my childhood and teen years. I then went to the United States to study and after receiving a doctorate in Biology, was employed as a professor, later achieving tenure.
I returned to South Africa in 2015 where I began working as a freelance writer and editor. I am continuing my birdwatching journey today and I am a member of several birdwatching groups such as Birdlife South Africa and What’s This Bird? American Birding Association.
I hope to increase people’s interest in birds. Watching birds is a healthy and inexpensive hobby that people of any age can do. What’s also great is that bird watching makes you exercise and think while you walk around trying to figure out what you are seeing and hearing. You can also choose a spot to sit (take a camping chair) and sit and watch the birds if you don’t want to walk much.
I hope to encourage other people to take up this truly enjoyable hobby. You can do as much or as little as you want. It is entirely up to you! While some birders aspire to identify and record as many species of birds as they can, others simply enjoy what they have in their gardens.
Personally, I like recording species but it does not matter if I don’t see a new species on every trip. I also enjoy watching bird behavior and learning about how the birds are classified. I am a scientist by training but you don’t need a formal education to take up bird watching.
My Personal Goals
My personal goals are listed below.
- I to continue birdwatching in as many places as I can and continue to learn more about birds.
- To learn more about reptiles as well as birds, since I often see snakes when out birding. I once encountered a very angry Boomslang being attacked by some Puff-backed Shrikes in a park in South Africa!
- To travel to a new country to birdwatch and learn about other animals.
My Expertise in Birds
I studied Ornithology as part of my Zoology degree at the University of Kwazulu-Natal. I completed an Ornithology class as part of my Ph.D. in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington. You can see my full LinkedIn profile here.
I presented ornithological research at scientific meetings:
- R. Osborn and N. Treusch. 2009. Foraging by birds in suburban areas. Louisiana Academy of Sciences, 833rd Annual Meeting, 4 April 2009, Natchitoches, LA.
- R.L. Niell and R. Osborn. 2000. Trends in shorebird migration at Village Creek Water Treatment Plant: 1977-1999, Tarrant County. Southwestern Association of Naturalists 47th annual meeting, Denton, TX. 155.
My volunteering and other experiences:
- volunteered and helped at the River Legacy Foundation International Bird Migration Workshop held on 13 May 2000,
- joined the LSUS Bird Study Group and gave a talk in February 2002 on the Birds of South Africa.
- worked as a tenured Professor of Biology in Louisiana until 2010. After returning to South Africa,
- volunteered from 6 to 7 June 2016 to complete a Cape Parrot Count at Ngeli Forest,
- and helped with bird ringing at Darville Bird Sanctuary in 2016.
I currently work as a writer, editor, and curriculum specialist in biology and continue to bird watch and study birds.
Happy bird watching!