Bird Treks - A Quality Birdwatching Tour Company

Your Leaders

Chris Lotz recently became the owner and operator of Bird Treks, which now focuses on tours within the United States and Canada. Although he necessarily spends a lot of time in the office, he sometimes leads tours to Cuba and many other parts of the world, and co-leads some of the trips in the United States and Canada. Ever since he can remember, birds have been his absolute passion. Originally from South Africa where he did his PhD on sunbirds, Chris then spent 2.5 years in Wyoming doing research on hummingbirds. While he enjoys this work and occasionally still publishes research papers for fun, he finds it a lot more exciting to actually get out birding. Over the last 14 years, he has in fact spent a large portion of his time developing and guiding tours for his sister company Birding Ecotours, which concentrates on tours in the other six continents. Chris loves all birds, but enjoys the challenge of helping people to see more difficult species such as rails and owls. Chris and his wife Megan currently live in South Africa, but are spending more and more time in Ohio, where they may in fact move to in 2017.

Bob Schutsky and his wife Nancy founded BIRD TREKS in September 1994. Until recently Bob was the sole owner and operator of this birding tour company. Chris Lotz has now assumed many of these responsibilities, with Bob continuing to refine the itineraries, and lead many of the long-standing tours that focus on destinations in the United States and Canada. Bob has been an active birder for 45 years, and has birded throughout the United States, many parts of Canada, and much of the Western Hemisphere. He has co-led birding adventures to Kenya and Spain, and has led nearly 50 tours to Costa Rica. Although it is difficult to choose his most favorite North American destination, it certainly includes Adak Island Alaska, Churchill Manitoba, Southeast Arizona, and Dauphin Island Alabama. His birding career began in 1972 with an ornithology course at the University of Miami in Florida, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Much of his work for the next 20 years as an environmental consultant involved the identification, study, and censusing of birds. He recently completed a long-term shorebird migration survey on the lower Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. He taught bird identification classes at several local schools and universities. In 1976 he initiated and still organizes the Southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Christmas Bird Count for the National Audubon Society. He wrote a bird column for the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Sunday News, and helped to coordinate, compile, and author the “Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania”. He wrote portions of “A Guide to the Birds of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania” and held former Pennsylvania Big Year and Big Day records. Birds and the love of nature are his life pursuits, and Bob thrives on sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with others. Bob and Nancy live on the shores of the lower Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

Geoff Carpentier Geoff’s interest in nature began when he was 13, when he would wander through the woods and countryside near his Canadian home in northern Ontario, learning about nature first hand. Educated at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Geoff studied zoology and biological sciences. Recently retired, he worked for more than 33 years with the Canadian Ministry of the Environment. In his spare time, he maintained an active personal life where he led nature trips and taught nature and pesticide courses at community colleges. He is a widely published author in nature and science magazines and books, writes a bi-weekly nature column, and worked as an interpretive guide in several national parks. Geoff’s latest triumph is the publication of his second book, “Antarctica – First Journey”, a resource guide for Antarctic travelers, honoring the 13 times he has visited that exotic continent. He has traveled the world, visiting approximately 75 countries on all seven continents, where he has shared time with Polar Bears, Amazonian snakes and piranhas, observed the private lives of lions, avoided riots in Venezuela, hiked the Andes, camped with Pademelons in Australia, walked with penguins, searched for endemics in Colombia, traversed the Northwest Passage, and canoed Ontario’s northern lakes. Being an expedition guide and interpretative leader helps him build on his lifelong passion for nature. He has led numerous tours to Antarctica, South Georgia, the Falklands, Taiwan, Svalbard, Russia, Alaska, Cuba, Borneo, Greenland, the Galapagos, Tanzania, and more. Join Geoff as he shares his knowledge of wild things and places, delivered with caring and thoughtful attention to you, his clients!

Andrew Griswold has been the Director of EcoTravel for Connecticut Audubon Society (CAS) since 1996. He graduated as an honor student in biology from Hartwick College, where he worked at their biological research station in the Bahamas studying avian ecology. Andy is the original concept creator and scientific consultant for a cable television series on bird watching called All Bird TV that aired on Discovery’s Animal Planet. He is the original concept creator of the award winning Connecticut River Eagle Festival (during its time the largest birding festival in the world). Andy has conducted bird surveys for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and has participated as a Christmas Bird Count captain for nearly 30 years. He has consulted to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism concerning development of birding tourism in its more remote islands. Andy leads trips for CAS to Canada, Texas, South Florida, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, and many other unique destinations. Andy is a licensed US Coast Guard 100-Ton Master boat captain. He lives in Essex, Connecticut with his wife and their young son. He is known for his attentiveness to traveler’s needs, fine birding skills, and infectious sense of humor.

Dan Heathcote began birding as a child in Florida, going on his first Christmas Bird Count at the age of ten. Living near the coast, Dan was able to participate in many offshore birding trips, something that he still enjoys today. Travel for birding has taken Dan all across the United States. Outside the US, Dan has birded in Mexico, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and England. Since leading his first birding tour in Florida at age 16, he has lead Bird Treks tours to Arizona, Texas, and Alaska. With his keen eye, he discovered the first United States record for Crescent-chested Warbler while birding in Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 1983. Dan added the first record for Chestnut-sided Warbler to the bird list for Yellowstone National Park in 1989. He lives in York, Pennsylvania with his wife Lori and children Cory and Amanda. Hummingbird gardening is one of Dan’s favorite pastimes, along with coaching baseball.

Jason Horn's fascination with the natural world began at an early age. From his home in Emmaus, Pennsylvania his interest in nature grew, with birds becoming his main focus. Jason is a self proclaimed 'birding bum' who enjoys spending his time studying and learning about birds and their behaviors. He has spent countless hours in the field where he has found many unusual and fascinating species. He is an enthusiastic birder who is always eager to share his love of birding. His passion for birding has motivated him to travel extensively throughout North, Central, and South America, and parts of Europe, Africa, and Australia. Jason has worked as a guide for more then a decade, having the pleasure of showing hundreds of people what nature has to offer. He is always looking to expand his knowledge of the natural world and is always happy to share in the experience.

Mark Pretti is a perpetual student of nature and a humble teacher focusing on birds, general natural history, and conservation. In addition to birds of southeast Arizona and the Neotropics, Mark's other interests and areas of expertise include the identification and ecology of plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, with a particular interest in ecological relationships and conservation. Mark worked as the naturalist at The Nature Conservancy's Ramsey Canyon Preserve from 1997 to 2004 and, in his free time, has moonlighted as field trip coordinator and trip leader for the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival, board member and trip leader for the Huachuca Audubon Society, and office manager, tour leader, and head dishwasher for Mark Pretti Nature Tours. Both with the Conservancy and as a freelance environmental educator, Mark provides environmental education programs for hundreds of students each year in southern Arizona and has been leading summer nature camps for children since 1998. Along with his wife Karen, he worked as a birding and natural history guide at the Cristalino Jungle Lodge in Amazonian Brazil for three months in 2004 and again for four months in 2006. Mark has a B.S. in Zoology and has been leading birding and natural history trips in Arizona and south of the border since 1997. Mark's focus on unique experiences, small group size, and love of learning and teaching has created memorable natural adventures in some of Earth's most beautiful and wildlife-rich landscapes.

John Puschock has been an active birder and avian researcher for more than 20 years. His birding trips have taken him across much of the US (35 states at last count) and two Canadian provinces. Thanks to his recent trips to Adak, his ABA list is well over 700. John did his undergraduate work at Penn State University and earned his Master's in wildlife science at New Mexico State. For the past 15 years he has worked on research projects in many different parts of the country. His most recent position was on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker search team in Arkansas and Florida. John's specialty is Alaska, and he is helping to open Adak Island as the new Aleutian birding destination. He operated four banding stations in northwest Alaska and authored two sections of ABA's newly published "A Birder's Guide to Alaska". John is also writing a section of the new update to the ABA Florida Guide. John loves to take people birding and is especially fond of finding and photographing rare birds, such as the Zenaida Dove and Mangrove Swallow published in recent issues of North American Birds. Check our tour listing to see what John has to offer.