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Tom Dunkerton

dunkI am a Pro Staffer for Opticron North America, a sport and nature optics company and I promote our binoculars and spotting scopes throughout the U.S. at various birding events. My family and I have recently moved to Iowa, one of the best kept birding secrets in the U.S.! Lucky me!

As a kid growing up in New York, I’ve always loved being outside. I grew up fishing and crabbing off the shores of Staten Island and constantly wandering the wooded areas available to me, which at the time, contrary to popular belief, were quite abundant.

Turning over stones and logs investigating what lies beneath led to an early interest in reptiles and amphibians. It wasn’t until 1985 that my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of bird watching! My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, had then given me my first birding field guide in 1985 and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Fast forward to 1995, when I moved to Florida where I continued to bird avidly, so much so that I ended up with a job as a field research technician studying Florida Scrub-jays on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for four years from 2005 through 2008. It wasn’t until 2003, after participating in shorebird surveys at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge that I was inspired to take up photography. Initially, it was simply to photograph birds to better study them. Spending every waking moment out in the field when not working afforded me some grand experiences and lessons in patience that led my photography to become just as much an obsession as birding itself.

My birding obsession was rewarded in 2007 by being invited to guide field trips for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in Titusville, Florida. It has since expanded well beyond that. My hobby led me to even dabble in portrait and wedding photography but none could live up to the rewards of nature photography and just being outside!

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