Scott Weidensaul Biography
Born in 1959, Scott Weidensaul has lived
almost all of his life among the long ridges and endless valleys
of eastern Pennsylvania, in the heart of the central
Appalachians, a landscape that has defined much of his work.
His writing career began in 1978 with a weekly natural history
column in the local newspaper, the Pottsville Republican
in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, where he grew up. The column
soon led a fulltime reporting job, which he held until 1988,
when he left to become a freelance writer specializing in nature
and wildlife. (He continued to write on nature for newspapers,
however, including long-running columns for the Philadelphia
Inquirer and Harrisburg Patriot-News.)
Weidensaul has written more than two dozen books on natural
history, including his widely acclaimed Living on the Wind:
Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds (North Point
1999), which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize
for general nonfiction. Other recent titles include The Ghost
with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search
for Lost Species (North Point 2002), about the search for
animals that may or may not be extinct; Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the
Continent's Natural Soul (North Point 2005), an ambitious
journey to take the pulse of America's wildlife and wildlands, and The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery and Endurance in Early America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012).
Weidensaul's writing has appeared in dozens of publications,
including Smithsonian, the New York Times,
Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife and Audubon,
among many others. He lectures widely on conservation and
In addition to writing about wildlife, Weidensaul is an active
field researcher whose work focuses on bird migration. Besides
banding hawks each fall (something he's done for almost 20
years), he directs a major effort to study the movements of
northern saw-whet owls, one of the smallest and least-understood
raptors in North America. Most recently, he has joined a
continental effort to understand the rapid evolution, by several
species of western hummingbirds, of a new migratory route and
wintering range in the East.
lives in the Pennsylvania Appalachians.
This biography was last updated on 06/16/2011.
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