The Bird Watcher’s Digest Way-off Coursers
The Bird Watcher’s Digest Way-off Coursers is a team of avid birders from the United States—only one of whom has ever watched birds in Israel before. The Off-coursers plan to mitigate this potential shortcoming with an over-abundance of good humor and enthusiasm.
Assembled for their specialized knowledge and skills in flight-call identification of birds and butterflies (O’Brien), high-end optics and interpretive dance (Lizdas), event-planning and fine-dining (Armistead), and cisticolitis and American jazz music of the 1950s (Thompson) this team is destined for great things—perhaps even during this birding competition.
They are all staunch supporters of birding conservation and look forward to meeting the other Champions teams on the field of birding endeavor.
Please help the Way-Off Coursers raise conservation funding by making a donation here.
Christine Amaral, Diane Husic, Annie, Dallas DiLeo, Marianne Hosford, The Willful Sprite, Amy G…
Kim Beard, Marcy, Paul Pisano, Ellen Gald, Jenny Bowman, Jerry and Jody Zamirowski…
Julie Davis, Janet Lee McKnight, Curt & Kathy Hofer, Annie K. Main, Mark Hedden, Brian & Sheryl Caine…
Jeff and Liz Gordon, dqbirdie, Debbie Barnes, Kiskadeejan, Sharon Lynn…
Warren Cairo & Claudia Burns, Janice and Scott Emrick, Robin and Roger Chanin and our many other anonymous supporters…
Bill Thompson III
Bill Thompson III
Bill is the co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest, the birding magazine started by his family in 1978. He’s the author of many books on birds and nature and is in great demand as a performer/speaker/guide at birding festivals throughout North America. His podcast “This Birding Life” has listeners on all continents and receives more than 600,000 downloads annually. He writes regularly for two blogs: his own blog, Bill of the Birds and for Out There with the Birds, the official blog of Bird Watcher’s Digest. When he’s not birding or traveling, Bill enjoys performing with his country-rock band The Rain Crows. He lives in Whipple, Ohio, USA.
Michael is a freelance author, artist, and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours leader living in Cape May, New Jersey. He has a passionate interest in bird vocalizations and field identification, and a serious addiction to migration and nocturnal birding. His travels have taken him throughout North and Central America and beyond. At home in Cape May, Michael serves as an Associate Naturalist with Cape May Bird Observatory for whom he conducts numerous workshops, and, for many years, conducted a fall songbird migration count. He is co-author of The Shorebird Guide, Flight Calls of Migratory Birds, and America’s 100 Most Wanted Birds, and is primary author of Larkwire, an online and handheld application for learning bird sounds. His illustrations have been widely published including in National Geographic’s Field Guide to the Birds of North America and the new Peterson field guides. Michael also has an intense interest in butterflies and leads several “Birds & Butterflies” tours with his wife, Louise Zemaitis, and is coordinator of the Cape May Butterfly Count.
George is a lifelong birder and since April 2012 is the events coordinator for the American Birding Association. George spent the prior decade organizing and leading birding tours for Field Guides Inc. He has guided trips on all seven continents, and enjoys vast open country habitats and seabirds most of all. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania he is an associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and secretary of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club. He spends his free time birding the coast between Philadelphia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
As a former restoration ecologist, Ben first fell in love with birds and birding while doing vegetation studies on the prairies and oak savannahs of Southern Wisconsin. Currently he is the sales manager for Eagle Optics, one of the largest sports optics retailers in the North American birding market. He’s been an avid birder for 14 years and continues to pursue this interest through his travels to birding and nature festivals across America and occasionally abroad. Having witnessed and appreciated much of the avian diversity of North America while on the road, he still maintains a fondness for those grassland birds in Wisconsin that first piqued his interest 14 years ago.