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Doug by Debbie

I started my training to write books on nature at the age of five. That's when I first became interested in birds. Don't ask me how that happened. I can't remember. Sometime, soon after that, I started collecting butterflies and beetles. Soon I also had snakes and lizards as pets.

As a kid, I knew all of the birds, snakes, frogs, and salamanders of the neighborhood. I spent much of my time in the woods and fields near our house. I also got the idea, probably from watching Wild Kingdom on TV, that when I grew up, I would catch animals in Africa for a living. That actually became partly true. I did spend a month in the country of Cameroon catching birds to photograph them. I will get back to that.

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When I went to college there was no doubt what my major would be. I studied biology. Fortunately, one of my professors, Edwin O. Willis, did research on birds in tropical forests. He took five of us to Panama for a month to help wrap up his research on an island in the Panama Canal. We followed army ants and kept notes on all of the birds that followed the ants. Why did they follow ants you might ask? Most people guess to eat them. Actually, the birds eat crickets, cockroaches, and other little creature that are trying to escape from the ants. After college I spent another 6 months working with Dr. Willis in the Brazilian Amazon.

From Brazil, I went to Seattle. That is really where my writing career began. I spent a couple of years working with Seattle Audubon Society working to save habitat. As part of my effort I wrote articles for the Seattle Audubon newsletter to explain the conservation problems and to get help in solving them. That gave me confidence to write for some other local publications. Later I had articles published in magazines such as International Wildlife, Owl, and Ranger Rick.


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