A little history...
In 2005 I was freshly graduated from college finishing up field work as part of the Monitoring Wyoming's Birds Program when I received an invite to help document the first ever nesting Flammulated Owl in Wyoming. The previous summer a field tech had reported hearing the faint double hoot of Flammy’s in the Snowy range in southeastern Wyoming. I thought it sounded like fun and jumped at the opportunity. The first afternoon another tech searched nest holes out and found the first ever Flammy in a nest cavity in Wyoming. Later I came back with several other techs and biologists and took photographs of the bird--I was hooked.
That evening I found 4 Flammy’s on a survey route in the mountains and took my first nocturnal photos of the species. After returning to Salt Lake City I headed out and within a couple weeks had found several at various locations. I loved birding in the dark and interacting with these tiny moth-eating owls. I led my first field trip for owls and started learning how to show people Flammy’s. In 2007 I met some out-of-state birders who were keen on seeing Flammy, and I told them I could show them. Afterwards they tipped me for my effort, and started spreading the word.
Now here I am entering my 10th season of guiding for Flammulated Owls and I am ecstatic as always. Having encountered over 350 Flammulated Owls and showing this spectacular little creature to almost 200 birders, it is without a doubt Mountain West Birding Company’s hallmark species. We know when, where, why, and how to find these mysterious little owls and have 100% success rate at detecting them from May through September.
But Flammy’s are just a small portion of the birding we actually do. I started birding in the early 1990’s, just wandering through the forest enjoying the sounds and was hooked some point thereafter when I spied my first Western Tanager. In college I honed my skills with 3 seasons as a field tech for Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. I added an additional field season in 2007 for the State of Utah’s Riparian Monitoring Program. During 2007 I also completed a Utah State Big Year, piling up 355 species of birds, besting the previous record by 23 species. On May 12, 2014, I joined pals kenny Frisch and Colby Neuman as we set a new Utah State Big Day record with 205 species. In my 20+ years birding in Utah I have amassed a state life list of 412 species and have found a handful of first state records including: Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Western Gull, Pine Warbler, and Eastern Meadowlark.
Aside from my competitive birding side, I also love wildlife photography, and spend most of birding time trying to capture photos of the creatures I encounter. My wife Samantha and currently reside in Little Cottonwood Creek Valley, Utah, where we have been married for 5 years and spent a great deal of time travelling the world, and had the privilege to see some amazing things. I’ve birded on every continent except Asia and Antarctica and have an incurable addiction to birding in Central America. In 2014 we welcomed a budding young birder named Cameron into the world, and I spend any chance I can showing and teaching him about birds.
When not birding or with my family, I pilot the mobile product experience for Entrata, in Lehi, Utah. I’ve slowly grown Mountain West Birding Company, and tried to focus on an online shop for birders in the past--but have realized guiding is where my heart is at. Hopefully, I can continue to share my love of birds and the outdoors with others through this venture for years to come.