My name is Eric Setterberg. I am retired and lived on the West Coast of the U.S. for most of my life. I was born in Los Angeles and eventually moved to Ashland, Oregon, where I served on the board of Rogue Valley Audubon Society for several years. My wife Laurel and I also volunteered as naturalists at a state park in Washington state, conducting Junior Ranger and birding programs for visitors.
In 2020, Laurel and I moved to the Florida Panhandle. As a birder for 40 years, I have a keen interest in birds but had limited shorebird knowledge. I felt really lucky to have met Michael Ferrara, a shorebird biologist for Audubon who was conducting a survey at McKissack Beach. Talking to him, I became interested in volunteering with Audubon.
Since becoming a volunteer, I have learned a lot about Florida’s shorebirds and was pleased to find many opportunities to help. I’ve assisted with monitoring nesting birds, put up signs to protect nesting habitat, assisted at educational events for the public, cleaned-up trash at the beach, and lent a hand with outreach during the busy holiday weekends.
I have found the experience very rewarding. Although I have an avid interest in birds and view birding as my primary hobby, I have met many other people here who love nature like I do, but do not have a great deal of birding experience. These people decide to participate because they want to learn and contribute to a better world. I appreciate volunteering my time to protect birds and provide support to dedicated field biologists, like Michael.
As an avid birder, I have many favorite birds. One of my favorite non-shorebirds is the Swallow-tailed Kite because it is both beautiful and graceful when flying. My first sighting of them took place shortly after moving to Florida in 2020. My other favorite bird is the Sandhill Crane. Seeing them is always a thrill and hearing them calling is an amazing sound.
When I’m not birding or stewarding, I like to bike, kayak, and take photographs. I’m looking forward to a busy summer stewarding at the beaches! I hope to see you out there.
Are you interested in volunteering? Learn more here.