Steve Pike, Tour Leader
Most birders would agree that Indigo Buntings are stunning birds, but for Steve Pike they hold a special meaning. Steve’s mother pointed out an Indigo Bunting in their yard to him when he was 13, spiking his passion for birds. That was 28 years ago and Steve hasn’t put down his binoculars since.
Growing up in Windsor, Steve had the opportunity to spend much time birding in some of Ontario’s most famous birding locations, including Point Pelee National Park and Hillman’s Marsh. This nature photographer and birder has one of the highest lists for Point Pelee National Park, with over 335 species observed in the park. His North American list exceeds 650 species.
As Steve’s love for birding expanded over the years so did his taste for birding in exotic places throughout North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. One of his more memorable birding experiences was during a month he spent birding in the Philippines. During this trip Steve hiked up a mountain to catch a glimpse of the rare Philippines Eagle, a bird most birders can only dream of finding. His travels have allowed him to rack up a world list of close to 4000 species of birds.
As much as Steve gets a thrill from adding a new species, he finds it tremendously fulfilling to pass on his birding knowledge and experience. In his role as a Tour Leader for Natura Tours, Steve can combine his two passions of birding and sharing his knowledge of birds with others.
Another of Steve’s most memorable birding experiences occurred in 2006. Along with a group from the University of Windsor and the University of Alabama, he spent a month camped in a cypress swamp in northern Florida in search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, which was thought to be extinct. While they did not find the bird, the trip was well worth the effort and an experience Steve will not soon forget.
Steve is a regular guest speaker at naturalist clubs in Canada and the U.S., where he speaks of his many experiences and shares his photographs. “One of the most important tools of photography is to show others how beautiful nature is and why we want to protect it.”While he does sell his images, Steve often donates the use of his pictures to environmental causes so that others can be similarly inspired to experience the joys of nature. It is his chance to give back after having such a rich opportunity himself.
During migration, Steve leads guided birding tours in the Point Pelee area, and he is also knowledgeable in his other favorite subjects,butterflies, moths, reptiles and amphibians. Over the years, Steve will undoubtedly look back with many fond memories. He plans to stay the course with his environmental, photographic and birding endeavours, which includes being the Ontario compiler for Winging It, a publication of the American Birding Association.