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WINGS Tour Leaders – Ethan Kistler

Ethan Kistler

Image of Ethan Kistler

Ethan Kistler hails from Ohio and began birding at the age of 10 when he literally woke up one morning and decided that he wanted to become a birder. Since then he’s worked field jobs from Ohio to Alaska, traveled to 40 countries, and led birding trips throughout North America and Africa (where he lived for 7 years). When not leading tours, he’s chasing rarities, off on spontaneous birding jaunts, and reviewing data as one of eBird’s data reviewers for much of the African continent. Previously the Education and Outreach Specialist for Black Swamp Bird Observatory and director-at-large of the Ohio Ornithological Society, Ethan’s main focus now is guiding and filling in gaps between tours with ornithology-related field work.  Ethan has recently written the ABA's Field Guide to Birds of Ohio, published in 2019.


"Ethan went above and beyond to ensure we all had an enjoyable, insightful, and exciting trip. His extensive knowledge and passion were evident from day one. This was my first birding tour and it was enthralling. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience."
- Amanda T. on Northwest Ohio

"Ethan was wonderful. Even among bird guides, his song and call recognition is outstanding. He was on top of everything—birds, territories, schedule, unique places to eat. Would love to go with him again."
- Jean T on Minnesota & North Dakota

"Perfect tour! North Dakota was the biggest surprise. I had no idea how green and lush ND was everywhere we went on the tour. Ethan is an excellent and very knowledgeable tour guide. I have been on 16 previous birding tours with other tour companies, so I know a great guide and Ethan is it!"
- George R. on Minnesota & North Dakota

"Ethan Kistler is an extraordinarily talented world class birder and guide. His enthusiasm for what he is doing is really impressive. He was very attentive to the needs of all the tour participants."
- Len and Mimi B. on Iceland

"Ethan was simply superb and we cannot wait to book another tour with him. He has boundless energy, enthusiasm and is extremely attentive to the needs of all participants."
- JC B. on Morocco

"I was so impressed at how well Ethan managed personalities, different skill levels...And of course, how knowledgeable about the birds and the area in general he is, and how patient, kind and how understandable his explanation of field marks and habitat clues."
- Carol L. on Northwest Ohio

"Ethan's "inside knowledge" of special out-of-the-way sites to see new species was particularly impressive. We could rely on both leaders for information on habitat, nesting, behavior and other detail, which very much enhanced the experience, rather than simply "getting out of the car to see the bird". I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to bird with such stellar leaders. Also, well aware of Ethan's organizational efforts going on constantly behind the scenes."
- Christina B. on Iceland

"Ethan was an outstanding tour leader. His knowledge of birding in the area was very evident. He skillfully worked around the weather, as we did have rainy and windy days, so that we could see our target birds."
- Karen T. on Minnesota & North Dakota

"Ethan did a great job finding us birds under challenging weather conditions, and his knowledge of the local area was encyclopedic. He was always optimistic and professional. He was also a safe driver!"
- Participant on Northwest Ohio

"Ethan is an outstanding birder and steward of the environment. Did a lot of preliminary scouting at our destinations before arrival of the group and made some adjustments to the itinerary to make sure everything was in order for the tour. He made an extra effort to look out for COVID-related health concerns, such as getting us to meals early to avoid crowds and looking out for use of masks in appropriate settings. Engaging conversations about his unique experiences in birding and conservation."
- Valerie B. on Morocco


Updated: April 2023