Entries by Noah Strycker


At 1:30 this afternoon, near the end of an eight-hour block of tracking Wedge-billed Woodcreepers through the jungle, I noticed a flock of agitated antshrikes mobbing something in a tree just off the transect I was working on. Thinking that they might have found a roosting raptor, I plunged into the undergrowth to see what […]

Dropped From 130 Feet

On my first full day off at Tiputini, I decided to climb the canopy tower at sunrise. A set of rickety metal scaffolding ascends to a platform in the fork of a huge ceiba tree which towers over the surrounding jungle, 130 feet above the ground – it’s a great spot for canopy birds and […]


As I write this, my life list stands at 1,999 species. It’s likely that I’ll hit 2,000 this very afternoon, since, at Tiputini, practically anything is possible. What bird will it be? I arrived on Friday after spending 24 hours in international airports and eight hours on a small plane, a bus, a boat, another […]

Ecuador Bound

The holidays are over and it’s time to head to the tropics! Tomorrow I catch a flight to Quito, Ecuador, then I’ll travel onward via small plane and boat to Tiputini Biodiversity Station, one of the most remote research stations in the world. I’ll be studying Wedge-billed Woodcreepers there for the next three months, spending […]

Wild Book Signing

At Portland’s Wild Arts festival yesterday, I shared a small table with Robert Pyle, that internationally known butterfly expert, conservationist, and author. We spent almost five hours signing books; I sat behind a glossy stack of Among Penguins, while Bob’s 15 or 20 titles formed an impressive mountain covering his side of the desk. Along […]

Penguins at the Rotary

“See that table, in the corner?” asked Pat, President of the Grants Pass Rotary club in southern Oregon, just after lunch today. “They’re a little hard of hearing back there. If they hold up a giant sign that says LOUDER, lean in to the microphone. They’re brutal.” I was about to give my penguin slideshow […]

Playing With Panoramas

My dad and I are prowling the sagebrush country of southeast Oregon this week, birding and photographing stuff. Our carmometer registered 17 F this morning, typical early winter weather at Malheur, and most birds have migrated south (no wonder birders never come here in November). But the high desert is beautiful this time of year… […]

That Big Bad Birding Movie

Half an hour ago, I watched closing credits roll on The Big Year at our local theater in Eugene. It’s been out for more than two weeks, so I’m probably the last birder on Earth to have seen it. But, hey, I’ve been living on a remote island in Maine for the last month; what […]

63 Saw-whet Owls in 9 Hours

After a full day of banding songbirds, Ed and I stayed up almost all night catching owls. Conditions couldn’t have been better: clear, calm, and cold with no moon. Though we have caught a few owls every night this week, last night was the best yet – 63 saw-whets! We finally turned into bed at […]


A northern cold front brought a nice collection of winter migrants today, and Ed and I banded 86 new birds at Petit Manan Point – very solid. We were pretty stoked about catching our first tree sparrow of the fall until Ed came running back from a net run with a Northern Shrike, definitely the […]

Angry Cardinal

Winter is coming to Maine. The forecast for Sunday calls for a high of 38 and snow showers. Brrr. First, though, we’ve got several warm(ish) days of northwest winds to look forward to, after enduring almost two weeks of south winds (bad for migratory birds around here). Ed and I are hoping this brings one […]

Day And Night

My schedule is getting strange. Ed and I stayed up past one a.m. catching owls, rose at dawn for six hours of songbird banding, took a four-and-a-half-hour nap in the afternoon, opened the owl nets again at dusk, stayed up past 3:30 am and caught 15 new saw-whets, slept less than two hours, banded 127 […]

Catching Saw-whet Owls

I’m staying up tonight with Ed to capture Northern Saw-whet Owls. It’s 11pm, and we’ve caught three so far – not bad, but not spectacular (a good night at Petit Manan Point might yield 20 by midnight). We take turns checking seven mist nets outside our trailer once an hour, luring in the fist-sized owls […]

From Island to Peninsula

Yesterday, after I’d spent three weeks banding birds on Metinic Island, a Fish and Wildlife boat showed up to transport our crew back to the Maine mainland. So I’m once again in the land of cars, flushing toilets, and lobster lunches. I’m not done here, though. Metinic Island may be closed for the year, but […]

Thousands Of Birds

It’s been a crazy week on Metinic Island. We captured and banded 200+ new birds on five out of the last six days, capped by a tremendous 467 (!) yesterday, an all-time record at this banding station! It was such an incredible effort that special, “half millennium” T-shirts are in the works for this crew. […]

Huge Bird Wave!

As soon as I stepped out the door this morning, I could feel it. A Rusty Blackbird was on the compost heap. A Brown Creeper inched incongruously up the shingles of the house. And, I quickly realized, every tree, bush, and vine was awash in hundreds, thousands of fluttering, restless shapes. Last night, Metinic Island […]

Gale Force

Adrienne, Chuck, Andrea and I gathered around our digital weather display this afternoon as a windstorm slammed the cabin on Metinic Island. When the wind hit 50 mph, the refrigerator inside our kitchen started to shake. When it hit 62 mph, we all ran outside to rescue a microphone (which records calls of migrating birds) […]

Three Weeks In Maine

At 300-acre Metinic Island, seven miles off the coast of central Maine, it’s currently raining sideways with a steady 30-mph wind. I arrived on a Fish and Wildlife powerboat three days ago for three weeks of migratory bird banding with a small field crew, but the weather has made that difficult this week; even our […]

A 64-mile Dayhike

On the PCT this summer, I was all about consistency. I never tried a truly huge day (my biggest was 35.8 miles), but, increasingly, I found myself wondering: given easy trail and a light pack, how far could I really hike in one 24-hour period? (No running allowed). What if I walked from midnight to […]


Just before 9:30 this morning, after 123 days and 25 minutes of nonstop walking, came the moment I have been anticipating so long: The Canadian border, and the northern end of the Pacific Crest Trail – I made it!!!!!!!! It took just under four calendar months (May 19 to Sep 18) to hike 2,663 miles […]

Pasayten Wilderness

During an early sunbreak on a breathtaking ridge in the Pasayten Wilderness, I felt the first, bittersweet twinges of regret that this trip is nearly over. It’s been nearly four months of nonstop hiking, without much time to pause and reflect; I suppose the enormity of it all is really beginning to sink in. I […]

So Close…

This morning the fog burned off for a few hours of pleasant sunshine, but a layer of clouds had blotted out the sky by midafternoon, and my thermometer registered 37F at six pm with an icy wind – brrr! So much for summer. Some climbers reported snow flurries at 8,000 feet yesterday; I’m camped among […]

A Change In Weather

Last night was very windy in Stehekin, and I woke up to gray skies this morning. Finally, the weather I had expected in Washington: cool and cloudy. I just hope any real rain holds off for three more days… Because of breakfast and shuttle schedules, my dad didn’t see me off until after noon (next […]


Another 27 miles (3,000 feet up, 5,000 down) brought me to Stehekin today, an isolated town in northern Washington. The roads here don’t connect anywhere else, so it’s necessary to take an expensive ferry to reach Stehekin – except, of course, if you walk here! My dad took the ferry, loved it, and met me […]


A couple miles before I reached the Suiattle River crossing this afternoon, I found a sign proclaiming, “New! PCT + Bridge,” pointing down a freshly cut side trail. Knowing that the bridge had been out for a few years, and sick of hauling myself over miles of poorly maintained trail (thick, head-high brush with lots […]