SPRING 2013 | St. LawReNc e UNIveRSIt y Ma Gaz INe 21
Mi chael Greenwald: Globetrot t ing Bi rder
A naturalist for the Appalachian Mountain Club and instruc-
tor in its Mountain Leadership School since 1971,
Professor of Religious Studies
Michael Greenwald could
identify various birds by the sounds they made before he really
knew what they looked like. A background in music helped.
I used to play the euphonium and penny whistle, so I was
hearing the birds' songs when I was hiking," Greenwald says.
I began to identify birds by their sounds and eventually I
wanted to see all the birds that were making those sounds."
An avid birder for "well over 40 years," Greenwald has
pursued his interest in 44 states and 30 countries. But there
are "still lots of birds I haven't seen." For example, he's heard
but not seen the Puerto Rican screech owl, and he has yet to
go birding anywhere in South America. Over this past winter
break, he traveled to the Yucatan in Mexico, and he is planning
birding sojourns from a home base of London when he directs
St. Lawrence's study program there next year.
Greenwald claims to be a Luddite where technology is con-
cerned; he frets about the use of technology in the field, which
is considered "cheating" by enthusiasts. But he says that the
avid pursuit of his hobby has helped him accept one contem-
porary accessory, an iPod, which he uses to categorize bird
songs. It currently holds about 2,600 avian "tunes."