2017 MBBF Bios

In Alphabetical Order

Field Trip, Workshop Leaders, and Lecture Presenter


A native Californian, RJ has lived and birded throughout the state for nearly 30 years. He has an MS in biology from the University of Utah where he focused on the co-evolutionary history of birds and their ectoparasites. He is also the author of A Field Guide to the Spiders of California and the Pacific Coast States, and will soon begin working on an inventory of the spiders of Pinnacles National Park. R.J. works as a special education teacher and greatly enjoys leading field trips for beginning birders.


Kumaran has led trips for the Monterey Bay Birding Festival since its beginning and is a passionate observer of birds in the Monterey Bay area. He has conducted breeding bird surveys in the Santa Cruz Mountains, taught classes on birding-by-ear, and led regular trips for local bird groups. He enjoys sea watching on the rich coastal waters of the Monterey Bay, ruminating on the beauties of bird songs, and birding foreign lands with his wife and three children. When not birding, he teaches music at Stanford University.


Rira considers Monterey County her specialty patch. She participated in the county’s breeding bird atlas project, wrote species accounts, and designed the publication published in 1993. She was the voice for the Monterey rare bird alert before the automated BirdBox, and served on the Monterey Audubon Society’s board of directors as the newsletter editor. She and her husband, Don Roberson, also travel the world in search of bird families, and enjoy giving multimedia presentations of these adventures. See more at http://montereybay.com/creagrus/trips.html.


Hugo was first introduced to the world of birds during college. Since then, his passion for birds has been the primary factor that determines his excursions. Currently, he is an educator working for the non-profit, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, where he teaches youth about the importance of wetlands and the environment. When he is not working with kids, he is working with Black Oystercatchers along the southern end of Monterey Bay for Audubon California. He is “all about the outdoors” and has a strong appreciation for all biotic and abiotic things. Most of his birding is in Monterey County where he resides; however, he also enjoys birding the Central Valley wetlands near where he grew up.


Dave Feliz is a Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He has been managing State Wildlife Areas and Reserves since 1988. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University and has been birding since 1977 when he saw a group of unimaginably beautiful blue birds in a snag while hiking in Yellowstone National Park.


Bill is a lifetime resident of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Since early childhood he has frequented the Carmel River area for fishing, birding, photographing, or just exploring. First introduced to birding in the sixth grade, he has seriously birded Monterey County for 20 years. Few spend more time birding the Carmel River mouth and the surrounding area. He is a wealth of information on the area and all of its avian inhabitants. A real “people person,” birders always have fun when they go into the field with Bill.


Maya Khosla has written Web of Water: Life in Redwood Creek (non-fiction) and Keel Bone (poems), essays including “Tapping the Fire, Turning the Stream: Securing the Future with Geothermal Energy” and “Notes from the Field.” Awards from Save Our Seas Foundation have supported her writing about climate change and other impacts on sea turtles. She has won awards from Bear Star Press, Flyway, and Poets & Writers. Her screenwriting efforts include narratives for Shifting Undercurrents and Village of Dust, City of Water, award-winning documentary films. Her latest film is about post-fire habitats in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains entitled Searching for the Gold Spot: The Wild after Wildfire, received support from the Audubon Society, Patagonia, Fund for Wild Nature, and Environments Now. Her latest poetry anthology, Song of the Forest After Fire, will be published by Sixteen Rivers Press.


Peter Pyle has worked as an ornithologist and marine biologist throughout the Pacific. During the 1980-2000’s much of his research was conducted on birds and white sharks at the Farallon Islands, California. and he is now an identification specialist and consultant for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary’s Beach Watch program. He is a Research Associate both at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and the B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu. To date he has authored over 170 papers in scientific journals and two books, and has described a new species of shearwater (Puffinus bryani) and named it after his grandfather, Edwin Bryan. Peter currently works as a staff biologist for the Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station.


Scott began birding in hometown Pacifica, CA, after receiving a little blue Golden Guide from his kindergarten teacher. At the age of 9, he met famed birder Gil West on a Sequoia Audubon field trip, and thus began a birder-mentor-friendship that would continue until Gil passed away in 1994. Scott went on to receive his MS in biology from CSU Long Beach, studying the breeding biology of introduced orange bishops and nutmeg mannikins in southern CA. He is interested in finding creative ways to minimize carbon footprint of the birding subculture – see http://www.greenbigday.org. Scott currently teaches high school AP
Biology & Environmental Science at The King’s Academy in Sunnyvale.


David and Jane have lived in the area since 2001 and have led field trips for the Monterey Bay Birding Festival almost since its inception. David became an avid birder in1950, and has birded over much of this country, as well as in other countries. Both he and Jane have served on the board of directors for the Monterey chapter of the Audubon Society, and have led many bird trips in the Monterey Bay area. In addition to birding, David is working on a flora (inventory) of the native plant life on the lands of the former Fort Ord. David also served on Ohio’s technical committee to determine the state’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs). His book, Birds of the Oxbow, chronicles the bird life at the mouth of the Great Miami River, on the Ohio/Indiana border. From their home, David and Jane take great pleasure in watching the sooty shearwaters streaming past in Monterey Bay.

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