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We hereby announce two very exciting pieces of news, both of them related. First, that we’re opening a formal office of Birding Ecotours in Ohio, specifically in Dublin, which is part of Columbus, on March 15, 2017. And, second, that we’re privileged enough to be taking over Bird Treks from our good friend Bob Schutsky, who lives in Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania. The home page of the Bird Treks website currently has a story about this event, written by Bob himself.
Regarding the first piece of news (the opening of the Birding Ecotours office in Ohio), this has taken a couple of years of planning but is now actually happening! Chris, the owner of Birding Ecotours (kindly see Chris’ bio here) and his wife, Megan, have booked their flights and are arriving in Columbus on March 15, 2017. An office has already been rented in Dublin, Columbus, OH. Chris is South African but previously lived in Wyoming for 2.5 years, studying hummingbirds. He has now been granted a one-year visa (which is likely to be extended for a further two years), which allows him to open an American office of Birding Ecotours. (Megan’s visa allows her to work in any capacity while in the USA, and she will likely be seeking a job translating from French to English or as a buyer).
The most urgent task that Chris will immediately start with, on arrival in the USA in mid-March, is to find good staff members, who need to be American citizens. Once he has found the right employees for Birding Ecotours LLC, the plan is for them to run the American office, freeing Chris up to either stay in the States or to return to South Africa or to go elsewhere. Megan and Chris both absolutely love the USA, so they might, of course, never leave, though!
Why did we choose Columbus, Ohio? Well, Columbus is a brilliant city that has not been affected like some Midwestern cities by the recession and the collapse of the steel and motor industries. We also have several good friends in Columbus, who have joined Chris on many African trips and are heading on a birding/Bengal tiger trip to India with him in 2018. Then, equally importantly, Ohio is right on one of the most famous North American spring migration routes for wood warblers and other birds – this is why the Biggest Week in American Birding is held in Ohio – please see here . Chris can hardly wait to properly start working on his Ohio state list (although, thanks to the 2016 “Biggest Week” at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, the incredible Kirtland’s Warbler is already on his Ohio list – usually one or two of these pitch up in north-western Ohio and across the border at Point Pelee in Canada).
We will be welcoming visitors to our office, so please e-mail us at [email protected] to plan your visit. Chris would very much love to go birding with you.
Onto the second piece of news, we have now taken over Bird Treks from Bob Schutsky because he wants to move into semi-retirement. Several years ago Bob led Birding Ecotours’ first ever US birding tour, which was to Texas. The tour participants absolutely loved him, and for good reason. Bob (wisely!) wants to retire from office work, but he still wants to (and will) guide many of the Bird Treks and Birding Ecotours trips in North America. These include many birding trips throughout the Lower 48, Alaska, and Canada. All of these trips, as well as a news story about Birding Ecotours taking over from Bob, can be viewed on the Bird Treks home page. Up until this point Birding Ecotours has only offered a handful of bird tours to states such as Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, and Tennessee (see our US tours), along with the odd Canadian birding tour (see our Canada tours – the famous Point Pelee is one destination within Canada.
We’re delighted to be welcomed to the great US of A! We hope to see you on one of our tours there or visiting our office/birding with Chris in and around Ohio.
It should go without saying, of course, that our valued, brilliant staff in South Africa, England, and Peru will continue running things throughout the rest of the world. Our main office and most of our staff are based in South Africa, which means that we have always had an extremely solid set of birding tours throughout the very vast African continent. Then, our UK tour leader, Andy (see Andy’s bio here), practically lives in Thailand when he’s not guiding birding tours throughout Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands from New Zealand to Fiji to New Caledonia (for the Kagu), and finally to New Guinea (PNG and West Papua or Irian Jaya). Eduardo (please see Eduardo’s bio here), who runs our South American/Central American/Caribbean office from Lima, Peru, is particularly excited about upcoming Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Costa Rica birding tours.