Meet Mandy Talpas (Part Time Tour Leader)PREVIOUS PAGE
As a tremendous lover of birds and wildlife Mandy has dedicated her life to avian conservation. From the time she was a young girl in northeastern Pennsylvania, she collected natural history observations in her backyard, volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation and education center, and rescued many unwanted pet parrots. Mandy earned a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Studies from East Stroudsburg University and began conducting countless environmental education programs as a Naturalist, a Lead Conservation Educator at an AZA accredited zoo, and a Bird Banding and Education Specialist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
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She continued to broaden her scientific studies and field skills with the Ornithology Lab at Villanova University pursuing graduate school. Her passion for parrots led her to the remote forests of Manu, Peru, where she worked to save endangered macaws, as well as studying tropical ecology in Costa Rica, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Mandy is grateful to have made Hawaii her permanent home. She has conducted biological assessments on Kauai and Oahu, worked as an avian field technician, assisting endangered forest bird conservation efforts with Oahu Elepaio and continues to volunteer with local non-profits working to save Hawaii's endangered forest birds and seabirds across the islands. Mandy has led hiking, history, nature, sightseeing, food, nature and birding tours for other companies for years and is thrilled to have started her own business leading birding tours full time in Hawaii with seasonal birding trips abroad. She is eager to share her knowledge and enthusiasm of Hawaii's culture, history, wildlife, and most especially, its unique and fascinating birds.
OMGosh, it felt so good to be traveling again. I am so grateful for RJ’s flexibility in seeing this trip through after it was postponed in 2020. The group was special—all but Teri Martine were members of the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society of Athens, GA., and needless to say, we got along famously. Teri, Forrest and Mandy got used to us quickly and blended in to our quirky, non-stop jokes and laughter. Forrest Rowland was an excellent guide, full of positive energy and very enthusiastic about seeing the birds. (He even ID'ed a bird recording I’d saved on my phone and thus I added another Yellowstone Life bird to my trip!!) And I throughly enjoyed getting to know Mandy Talpas on this tour. She is a very capable, engaging, organized and skilled co-leader. The food and hotels vastly exceeded my expectations. Mandy’s van on Oahu, aka “Big Red” was one of the best vehicles I have toured in. Mandy’s “meals in the fields” were delicious, fresh and extravagant. It was a special delight to have the option of a cold brew to watch the late afternoon sea bird show at the famous Kilauea Point NWR. Also, she shared with us her passionate and amazing conservation work on the islands, and we met several other local birder friends of hers who also graciously contributed to our knowledge and bird sightings. It was clear that she had personal connections with many of the hotel and restaurant owners, with whom she had conveyed her high expectations of service and response.
Mandy's knowledge not only of birds, but of culture, geology, botany etc made this trip extraordinary.
Mandy's guiding abilities whether finding birds or restaurants was extremely refined. Mandy announced that our goal was to see the endemic species of Hawaii, and then not surprisingly, she ensured that we met that goal.
Mandy, our leader was excellent with the complicated logistics, knowing the locations for the birds, making sure the birds were seen and was very good at making the trip very enjoyable.