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WINGS Tour Leaders – Derek Lovitch

Derek Lovitch

Image of Derek Lovitch

Derek Lovitch is a career biologist with a lifelong passion for birds. He has worked on avian research and education projects in nine states, from New Jersey to Hawaii and from Florida to Michigan. He also spent three summers as a tour guide on Alaska’s Pribilof Islands; he served as tour director there in 2003, and organized and conducted the first comprehensive Fall Avian Survey in the island’s history.

Derek and his wife, Jeannette, have settled down in Pownal, Maine, where they own and operate the Freeport Wild Bird Supply, a retail store catering to birders of all levels. The store serves as a vehicle for Derek to share his enthusiasm for birding, birds, and bird conservation.

Derek formerly served on his town’s Conservation Commission, and with Jeannette founded the Bradbury Mountain Raptor Research Project. Active in many birding and conservation issues in Maine, he also works as a consultant, conducting bird surveys in the state. Yet somehow he still finds to time to bird just about every day: whether guiding for private clients, organizing pelagic trips, or simply working on his local patch list, hardly a day goes by when Derek isn’t in the field. 

Derek’s first book, titled How To Be a Better Birder, was published in March 2012 by Princeton University Press and his second, Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide, was published by the University Press of New England in April 2017.  He was also the “Tools of the Trade” Department Editor for Birding Magazine for 6 years, and his writing has also appeared in Birder’s World, Bird Observer, Bird Watcher’s Digest, NJ Audubon, and Winging It. He is the author of A Birder’s Guide to Whitefish Point (Michigan) and wrote the text and designed the Birds of the Maine Backyard folding guide. Along with birding, Derek enjoys hiking, exploring new natural areas, developing his native plant garden, craft beer, and eating.


"Derek is very knowledgable of the area in both the history and finding birds in the field. He never gives up until everyone sees the bird. He uses a laser pointer which is a great help for me. He is very organized, and plans everything very well from getting the most use of time everyday and introducing the group to some fantastic restaurants and other cool food places to stop for breaks. Also gets good yummies for the picnic lunches."
- Terry H. on Maine & New Hampshire

"Derek made every effort to see that everyone saw the target bird of the moment. He is genuinely excited about the bird and this excitement conveys to the group. The conservation ethic is obviously there...Derek has a passion for conservation that shows in his detailed descriptions of the stresses that most of the native Hawaiian birds are facing. It is not a tale of despair, however, and Derek explains how these endangered birds can be protected and have been assisted in work that Derek has done on the islands himself."
- Larry C. on Hawaii 

"Derek is an outstanding birder and trip leader. His communications were crisp, accurate and easy to understand. He answered questions thoughtfully and completely. His ID skills and information on bird behavior made this trip memorable. I never once felt the desire for an afternoon nap."
- James W. on The Maine Coast in Fall

"Wow, what a trip! Derek did an absolutely outstanding job in finding the birds, but this trip was so much more than an exercise in checking a list. Derek took the time to explain why the interface between "northern" vs. "southern" birds was so important. He not only discussed, but showed us, the impact of climate change and habitat loss in his home state of Maine. He made us think about our impact as birders and encouraged us to be ambassadors for the hobby. I can honestly say that I've never learned so much in a week."
- Peter P. on Maine and New Hampshire

"Not only did Derek find me all the birds I was looking for (and some not expected ones), but he introduced us to Maine culture and ecology, and found us the best food imaginable. Plus he kept us entertain with his great sense of humor along the way. He was patient with all of us, even when we just couldn't seem to get our eyes on a bird everyone else wanted. His passion for finding everybody good looks sometimes made him drive us hard - but with great results. An extremely professional leader."
Donna M. on Maine and New Hampshire

Updated: May 2019