2021 Rangeley Birding Festival Guides  

Steve Hale holds university degrees in marine biology, evolutionary biology, and ecology. His doctoral dissertation at the University of New Hampshire focused on the habitat associations of the endemic Bicknell’s Thrush, using satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems. An avid hiker, birder, and naturalist, he has lived in New Hampshire for over twenty years and has explored most of the state as well as western Maine. He runs a guiding service called Open World Explorers.

Doug Hitchcox is the staff naturalist at Maine Audubon and the frequently quoted “go-to” expert on wildlife events and news. After graduating from the University of Maine in 2011, Doug traveled throughout the state to observe as many bird species as he could find. He ended the year with 314, a state record. During college, he worked at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center and was hired as Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist in the summer of 2013. In his free time, Doug volunteers as one of Maine's eBird reviewers, is the owner and moderator of the "Maine-birds" listserv, and serves as a York County Audubon board member and member of the Maine Bird Records Committee.

Nick Leadley is a professional nature photographer, owner of Touch The Wild Photography, and a Maine Recreational Guide. He has recently published Gavia: Tales From Loon Country. The book pairs his photographs of Common Loons with personal experiences from people around the world. Stop by his shop on Main Street! 

Derek Lovitch is a biologist, tour guide, and business owner. He is the author of Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide and How to Be a Better Birder. He has served as Tools of the Trade department editor for Birding magazine. With his wife, Jeannette, he owns and operates Freeport Wild Bird Supply, an independent bird-feeding and birding specialty shop that serves as a vehicle for promoting birding and bird conservation, including the Bradbury Mountain Raptor Research Project. Derek leads tours and guides for clients throughout the state and has led tours from Alaska to Hawaii. 

Peter McKinley is a climate adaptation ecologist at The Wilderness Society. He has worked in northeastern conservation and ecological research for the last 20 years, as the Director of Forestland Conservation at the Forest Society of Maine, a staff conservation biologist at New Hampshire Audubon, a researcher on forest songbirds and commercial forest management at the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, and the Vice President of Operations and Ecological Planning for a progressive timber management company.

Evan Obercian has been an avid birder since a very young age and has extensive experience in field ornithology, including 7 years as a tour guide for Tucson-based WINGS. A native of New Jersey, he has lived in Maine since 2015 and is particularly familiar with the birdlife of the region.

Sally Stockwell is Director of Conservation at Maine Audubon, whose mission is to conserve Maine's wildlife and habitat. She received her Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from the University of Maine. Sally has been involved in forest ecology and conservation in Maine for nearly 40 years and has worked with amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and birds. Sally was instrumental in developing the Forestry for Maine Birds program beginning in 2013, which provides guides, training, and tools for foresters, loggers, and forest landowners to manage their woodlands with birds and other wildlife in mind.