The concepts and market-forces that stimulated formation of The Bird Network are fundamental, strong, and will grow organically. We started with five premises:
1. The exquisite video-technology that is applied to televised sports events should be applied to birds and birding events. Imagine watching a bird take off and fly in ultra-high-definition, slow-motion. Also for many shows there will be commentary by expert birders.
2. There are more birders in the United Sates than hunters and fishermen combined. And there are almost twice as many birders as golfers. Because of television, at present the economic impact of golf is greater than birding, $142 vs. $88 billion. The Bird Network will increase birding’s popularity and its economic influence.
3. The Bird Network represents a huge undeveloped market. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are 70 million birders in the U.S. with 88% being backyard birders and 34% sport birders. (Sport birders travel to see and photograph birds; and eco-tourism is a burgeoning part of the travel industry.) It is noteworthy that U.S. bird seed sales are $20 billion a year. That translates to $67 spent on bird seed for every man, woman, and child in America. Those data that suggest that the actual number of birders may be significantly greater than government estimates.
4. Birds are everywhere and they are our best link to the natural world. Birding transcends religion and politics. For example, there are no Republican or Democrat birders. At a time when most news is bad news, birds are good news.
5. Our entertaining programming will be of broad general interest. The Bird Network will offer an ongoing, unscripted birding travel adventure (like On the Road with Charles Kuralt), live BirdCams, species-specific educational shows, birding movies, as well as dramatic and funny (home-video and YouTube) shows. Great programming is coming, but please feel free to share your ideas with us.
The Bird Network is dedicated to enhancing and growing the public’s awareness and appreciation of birds and birding with the enduring goal of conservation – preservation of all living species and their habitats – for future generations.
Steve Alperin is an award winning producer who has been managing and building national media outlets for nearly twenty years. As the head writer and producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, he oversaw thousands of hours of programming and guided coverage for nearly every national event from the Clinton Administration to the attacks on 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the managing editor of ABCNews.com, Steve was responsible for adding millions of users and overseeing groundbreaking investigations of wrongdoing in Congress. Steve was most recently the Chief Business Officer of www.Vocativ.com, a successful start-up in the youth media space. During his time at the company, Vocativ executed major TV programming deals with NBC Universal and Showtime. Steve is a winner of the Dupont and Murrow Awards for excellence in journalism as well as a two-time winner of the Writers Guild of America award. Steve has a B.A. from Harvard and an M.B.A. from Columbia.
Timothy Barksdale is a birder/biologist turned filmmaker. Tim has been passionately pursuing birds with a television camera for the last 24 years. His work is the foundation of the Macaulay Library video collection. He is CEO and principal cameraman of Birdman Productions. Traveling across the Canada & the United States into Central and South America, Tim has captured a wealth of behavioral diversity in his footage. Tim’s footage has been widely broadcast and included in multiple feature films, including The Big Year, multiple shows for Discovery, and now an upcoming APT/PBS special on the Greater Prairie Chicken entitled, Battle on the Booming Ground. Tim’s involvement with birds began very early and has led him to his passion for conservation through television. “No matter how many birds you see, unless your story is about how we are going to save habitat & birds, everything else is irrelevant. Reaching out to capture people’s attention to actually stop the destruction of our planet is our greatest challenge.”
Linda Dunne was born in Southern California and received her BS degree in resource management from Oregon State University. Thereafter, she worked as a Park Ranger at Chugach State Parks in Alaska before joining the National Outdoor Leadership School (Wyoming) as an instructor and Personnel Director. Between 1977-1982, Linda worked for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to capture and band migrating Peregrine Falcons at Island Beach State Park and Cape May.
In 1987, Linda married Pete Dunne and their marriage propelled her to new career as a birding instructor and photographer. Together, she and her husband, Pete, have published five books on birds, birding and travel with Pete providing the text and Linda the images. Linda has birded in every state and on every continent. She has been an instructor at Victor Emanuel’s Youth Birding Camp Chiricahua as well as a leader on many New Jersey Audubon birding trips.
Pete Dunne, The Bard of Birding according to the Wall Street Journal, has written for virtually every birding magazine; in addition, he has authored fifteen books about birds, birding, and bird conservation. From 1977 to 2014, Pete was the Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, and he is also the founder of the World Series of Birding. Pete Dunne is credited almost single-handedly with putting New Jersey birding on the map.
Pete, a New Jersey native, still lives in Mauricetown, New Jersey. Pete and Linda have traveled all over North America working on many of their books. Pete has received the Roger Tory Peterson Award of the American Birding Association’s and the 2014 Zeiss Optics Lifetime Achievement Award. Today, Pete is the New Jersey Audubon’s Ambassador for Birding.
At 26-yeard-old, Nathan Gatto is the youngest member of The Bird Network Advisory Board. Nathan was introduced to birding by his grandfather at a young age, and they would sometimes travel to the Outer Banks from their home in Indiana. In college and graduate school, Nathan studied Ornithology at Western Carolina University. After graduate school, Nathan conducted breeding bird surveys for the University of Georgia. Today, Nathan and wife Sarah own and run Wright’s Backyard Birding Center in Winston-Salem; they also frequently lead birding trips around the state of North Carolina
Roger Goodman is an independent television and live event producer, specializing in event production. He worked at ABC for 43 years as a television director and producer. His career has spanned sports, news, and entertainment. He has done Olympic Games, elections, wars, weddings, and funerals. He is now the head of RG Productions.
Roger Goodman has received 61 Emmy nominations and 29 Emmy Awards, three Christopher Awards, three Peabody Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, the first Gold Baton presented by the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, a George Polk Award, two International Broadcast Design Awards, the 1988 Directors Guild of America Directorial Achievement Award for the Indianapolis 500, six Videographer’s Awards, a Communicator Award, American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award, and 1992 Cine Award. In 2010 he was awarded the Life Time Achievement in News Directing award by the Director’s Guild of America.
For several decades, Jason Kessler has been a filmmaker and birder (though not necessarily in that order), and he is never happier than when those two activities merge. This was the case with his award-winning PBS documentary, Opposable Chums: Guts & Glory at The World Series of Birding, as well as his Sh*t Birders Say series of viral internet favorites. He hopes you won’t hold the latter against him.
David J. Leffler of the Law Firm of David J. Leffler (www.lefflerlawfirm.com) in New York City has worked for over thirty years with small businesses in a variety of industries. In September 2014, Leffler was honored as a Super Lawyer in the fields of corporate, intellectual property, and real estate law. He has served on advisory boards and for the past four years as a judge for the New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition, sponsored by Citi Foundation, at the Science, Industry and Business Library of the New York Public Library.
Dr. Jamie Koufman is one of America’s leading laryngologists and has lectured widely nationally and internationally. With three decades of clinical and bench research focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and cell biology of acid reflux, Jamie is one of the world’s authorities on reflux disease. She is a New York Times best selling author of Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure, a book that offers refluxers good understanding of silent reflux and a natural cure. She has also authored The Chronic Cough Enigma.
Jamie is the Founder and Director of the Voice Institute of New York, a comprehensive voice treatment center. She was a pioneer of laryngeal framework surgery, minimally-invasive laryngeal laser surgery, laryngeal electromyography, and transnasal esophagoscopy. Jamie is Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of the Mount Sinai Healthcare Ststem. She is a past-president of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association and the New York Laryngology Society. Jamie has been listed among the Top Doctors in America every year since 1994.
Finally, even though Jamie came to birding not so long ago, The Bird Network is her brainchild. She is a fanatic birder, and still proud to call herself a novice (her bird blog).