About Steve Shunk

Stephen A. Shunk was raised with a deep love and respect for nature, and he went on to study Meteorology and Environmental Studies at San Jose State University. Steve began birding in the Bay Area in 1989, and he started teaching birding classes in 1992. After moving to central Oregon in 1997, he founded the Paradise Birding tour company. Now an accomplished professional naturalist, Steve leads birding and natural history tours throughout the Americas, as well as destinations in Asia and Europe.

While in central Oregon, Steve co-founded the East Cascades Bird Conservancy—now the East Cascades Audubon Society—and served as its first President. Steve co-founded the Oregon Birding Trails program and coordinated its flagship project, the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail. He served as a 15-year compiler for two Christmas bird counts, and he has worked as a field biologist off and on for over 20 years. Most recently, Steve conducted Black-backed Woodpecker surveys for the Institute for Bird Populations  in California's Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains.

Over 20 years ago, Steve recognized the amazing woodpecker diversity on the eastern slope of the Oregon Cascades, where 11 woodpecker species annually raise their young. He began studying the lives of woodpeckers across the continent, and he founded the Woodpecker Wonderland Festival in Camp Sherman, Oregon in 2008.


Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America

Steve's woodpecker research culminated with the publication of his Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America in 2016Learn more about woodpeckers and Steve's book on our Woodpecker Wonderland website. 



For many years, Steve has been writing articles for a variety of publications, including Living Bird, Birding and Bird Watcher's Digest and the online Nature Travel Network. Here is a sampling of Steve’s articles.


BIRD WATCHER'S DIGESTSpecies Profiles: White-tailed Ptarmigan, Northern Flicker & Acorn Woodpecker

BIRDING MAGAZINEPuzzling Flickers, Understanding Introgression

BIRDING MAGAZINESphyrapicus Anxiety: Identifying Hybrid Sapsuckers

LIVING BIRD MAGAZINEMeriwether Lewis Would be Proud

NATURE TRAVEL NETWORKMy Birthday in the Caribbean

NATURE TRAVEL NETWORKFive Reasons to Go Birding in Mexico

OREGON MAGAZINEThe Colors of Fall Migration

OREGON CASCADES BIRDING TRAIL - Comprehensive 32-page guide to nearly 200 birding sites

WILDLIFE SOCIETY NEWSA New Forest Fire Paradigm, The need for high-severity fires (co-authored with 5 others)

WINGING IT - Woodpecker Wonderland, American Birding Association


Steve is an engaging and dynamic speaker. He has delivered presentations for the annual meetings of state ornithological societies, numerous annual bird festivals, and many local bird clubs, including over 50 local Audubon chapters.

For a detailed look at Steve's broad repertoire of program topics download his Summary of Birding Presentations pdf, then contact Steve as soon as possible with any questions, and get Steve on your calendar today!

"Steve's presentations are the perfect combination of science and entertainment." 
- Bartshe Miller, coordinator of the Mono Lake Bird Chautauqua

"Yours was the best presentation we have had in 25 years." 
- Bill Clark, historian for Audubon Society of Missouri

The boardwalk to Gomantong Caves, Malaysian Borneo

The boardwalk to Gomantong Caves, Malaysian Borneo