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Brian H. Bell - Biography

Brian Bell could feel the breath catch in his lungs as he grabbed onto a fir branch and hauled himself up another step. Behind him, he could hear his client panting. They both paused on the steep hillside and listened for the boom of a Sooty Grouse just a few meters away. It was spring in the Olympics and Brian was guiding an Eastern birder to find a lifer, the grouse that had eluded his client for more than eight years. Brian craned his neck and searched the trees. There, frozen on a branch was the grouse. Brian carefully moved to the side and pointed. The Easterner raised his head too, and looked straight into the eyes of the grouse. The whole forest seemed to go quiet, then the grouse inflated the two yellow pouches on his neck and boomed out his call, a summons to his mate, a challenge to his rivals.

"We were elated," says Bell, still smiling at the memory. "We would have given each other high-fives, but we were afraid to let go of our handholds - we would have slid right down the slope." Instead, the two shared wide grins, as birders will do when they find their treasure.

Bell has been guiding birders to such peak experiences for more than ten years. He specializes in customized trips for individuals or small groups of birders, both beginners and experts. He says that "I really enjoy guiding beginners, as the thrill they get at seeing a colorful new bird lets me revisit my early days birding, when all the birds were new to me. It also gives me great satisfaction to take an experienced birder out to find the bird that has eluded them for several years, and lets me share their pleasure at finally seeing the bird."

He is a Master Birder, a respected author of nature books, an environmental planner, and a trained geographer/geologist. He has taught birding classes for Seattle Audubon, Eastside Audubon, and local community colleges, covering the birds and birding hotspots of Washington State. He has led countless trips for Seattle Audubon, the Washington Ornithological Society, and Elder Hostel, and serves as a speaker and field trip leader for the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival, the Gray's Harbor Shorebird Festival, and Eastside Audubon.

Bell knows the birds of Washington State and has wide experience guiding people to find them. More than that, however, he takes pride in sharing his love of the outdoors with his clients. "I love taking people to my favorite spots all over Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, the Northwest), and California, to show them the birds that have meant so much to me. Helping others find birds, and sharing their joy when we see a new bird, is the best part of my work. I never get tired of seeing that special look that comes to people's faces when they see a great bird."


Classes Taught

Field Trip Leader


ABD: Geography/Marine Science, Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge
MA: Geography/Geology, California State University Northridge, (CSUN)
BA: Geography/Geology/Astronomy, California State University Northridge (CSUN)

Birding Areas of Special Expertise

Great Birds found for Clients

Birding & Natural History Guide / Master Birder
    P.O. Box 1385
    Woodinville, WA 98072
    voice: (425) 485-8058
    fax: (425) 402-6807

Northern Hawk-Owl

Copyright 1999-2012 Brian H. Bell