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WINGS Tour Leaders – Jon Feenstra

Jon Feenstra

Image of Jon Feenstra

Raised in the Appalachian ridges of northwestern New Jersey, Jon Feenstra’s playground was the outdoors. Though birding was a passion, it was chemistry that drove his academic education. After graduating college he moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles to conduct graduate research in physical chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. There, all while studying, he became active in Southern California birding: leading field trips, writing articles on bird distribution and local issues, and spending time exploring the diverse and bird-rich area. He finished a Ph.D. dissertation in ultrafast electron diffraction then decided it was finally time to go “all in” and make birding his full-time passion. When not traveling the country or the world, Jon lives in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and works as a free-lance ecological consultant. He volunteers for the Pasadena Society, has served on the board of directors of Western Field Ornithologists, leads many of Southern California’s pelagic trips, and has contributed to several publications on terrestrial and pelagic bird distribution. During any time between those activities he reads widely, brews beer, and plans his next adventure. 

Many of Jon’s photos and tales from the road can be found on his website and blog:


"Jon Feenstra demonstrated excellent leadership skills. As a bird trip leader, he has an amazing talent to identify hundreds and hundreds of birds by sound alone, and his visual identification skills are truly remarkable. All that, and he's a lot of fun! I would highly recommend any trip with Jon Feenstra."                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Susan G. on Ecuador: South

"Jon is just outstanding. Easy to talk to, fun to be with, and exhibiting a breadth of knowledge that is astounding." 
- Michael J. on Ecuador: The Amazon Lowlands I

"John Feenstra’s leadership was invaluable. The diversity and productivity of his selected birding sites was quite impressive. He keeps a tight schedule, maximizing time in various habitats. He is also excellent with visual and audio identification of birds. In addition, John is an amiable traveling companion with a good sense of humor. Having attempted similar trips by myself in the past, I estimate that I saw twice as many species traveling with John and the group than I would have seen solo."
- Douglas H. on Ecuador: The East Slope of the Andes

"Jon does a great job. He makes sure everybody sees the birds. He's very friendly, professional, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable."
- Heidi J. on Ecuador: Mindo and the Northwest Andes

"Jon is very knowledgable about the birds of this area. He's great at finding them and making sure everyone has a chance to see them. He's a lot of fun and works well with a group. Jon made the trip a pleasure and I would look forward to going on another trip with him."
- Kevin B. on Ecuador: The East Slope of the Andes

"Excellent field ornithologist, good background information. Hard working, efficient and a thoroughly nice guy, excellent company , great sense of humour and the sort of guy you'd want as a friend irrespective of his birding abilities."
- Ian C. on Ecuador: Mindo and the Northwest Andes



Updated: December 2008