Scott K – Bird Whisperer

Ever since he was a child, Scott has been fascinated by birds.

He remembers vividly watching the bird feeders that his parents had in their backyard when they lived near Akron, Ohio.

Specifically, the first time that a Pileated Woodpecker visited, he couldn’t believe its incredible size! And when a Rose-breasted Grosbeak came to the feeders for the first time, he thought it had escaped from the zoo because it was so beautiful!

Scott holding a baby duck he rescued when he was younger.

After seeing the variety of birds coming to the feeders, he borrowed his dad’s Canon camera and started trying to photograph them. It was impressive how long a 10-year old boy could sit still on the deck, waiting for the next bird to arrive. He still has some of those original photos he captured three decades ago!

Fast forward to 2003, when Scott went to college.

He was still interested in birds, nature, and science, so he chose to major in Biology at Baldwin Wallace University. During his time here, he was able to pursue his interests in the natural sciences, even getting the chance to visit Iceland on a short study abroad program.

Scott worked as an intern at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2006.

In his early twenties, while at school, Scott discovered a field guide to the birds of Ohio that included a CD of audio recordings of songs, mating calls, etc. Being able to recognize the different sounds of each bird species opened up a new world for Scott. He vividly remembers hearing birds for the first time that he never knew existed, such as the Scarlet Tanager, which Scott credits as his “spark” bird.

Despite his growing interest in the natural world, Scott decided not to pursue a career with his biology major.

After graduating in 2007, the job market was incredibly tough and competitive.

In addition, going to a small liberal arts college meant LARGE student loans. It was important to find a job that paid enough to make these monthly payments. Unfortunately, many careers in the natural sciences still don’t pay much more than minimum wage.

Scott’s first job after graduating was as a sales associate for a State Farm Insurance agent. While this role didn’t involve birds, it was interesting to Scott because he also has a strong interest in business and finance!

Over the next 10 years, Scott diligently pursued his career with State Farm, yet a lingering sense of unfulfillment persisted. Despite this, the remarkable individuals he met and the company culture served as enduring sources of motivation, propelling him forward.

His experience with State Farm ultimately led him to opening up his own insurance agency in 2012. The agency was immediately successful and grew incredibly well over the next few years.

But despite his success, Scott still felt like something was missing from his career.

He never felt fulfilled while at State Farm. One reason he stayed so long there was the incredible people he met through the years and the culture of the organization.

After Scott and his wife, Deena, had their first child (daughter) in 2014, he became restless. Scott knew that he didn’t want to run an insurance agency for the rest of his life, so he started looking at other options.

After a few unsuccessful ventures, he decided to pursue something that would bring him back to his roots. He had always loved looking for birds and other wildlife, such as frogs, snakes, turtles, insects, etc. He kept asking himself how he could combine these interests with an income.

That’s when Scott thought back to his childhood and the joy it brought him watching the birds in his backyard. The BIRD FEEDING industry seemed like the PERFECT place to find a rewarding career. Not only could it fulfill his interests in birds and nature, but also his interests and experience in running a business.

So, in October 2016, at around 5 a.m. (before work and his daughter woke up), Bird Watching HQ was born!

He wasn’t quite sure what to do with it or how it would turn out, but he hadn’t been this excited in a LONG time. To start, Scott mostly documented the things he was doing in his own backyard to feed the birds.

He was learning many of these skills as he went along, such as the best bird feeders for attracting cardinals and the types of bird foods that work best. As he learned from his findings, he just kept waking up early and writing more articles.

After about a year of effort, Google finally started noticing, and many of the articles started ranking as people typed questions into the search engine. Not long after, Scott created a successful page on Pinterest to help spread the helpful information he was creating.

But what REALLY helped Bird Watching HQ “take off” was the addition of the LIVE cameras in Scott’s backyard in 2018.

After many hours of research and experimentation, he ran ethernet cables underground from his house to his bird-feeding station. He installed two high-definition security cameras that stream his bird feeders continuously.

Scott never imagined how popular the live bird feeder cameras would become. Every day, thousands of people from all over the world tune in to watch the Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, squirrels, and many other creatures!

In fact, his Youtube channel now has over 100,000 subscribers. He has also partnered with a few other people from around the world to broadcast their bird feeders, from South Africa to Europe to Arizona.

As Bird Watching HQ has grown, Scott noticed that one of the most common questions people asked was, “What types of birds can I see near me?”

It is a time-consuming question to answer, as the answer is completely different whether you live in Florida or Oregon.

But to help, Scott and his team have spent the last few years creating identification guides that are specific to the different states in the USA and the provinces in Canada.

And don’t think that you will just find ID guides for birds. You will also find information about the types of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, plants, insects, and arachnids that live near YOU.

Scott is very proud of this database. If there is something you are looking for and it’s not available, or you see an error, he wants you to let him know.

To summarize, Scott’s goal is to inspire you to care more about the birds and wildlife in YOUR backyard.

Over the past 8 years, he has been focused on improving the habitat in his own yard by doing things like adding native plants, not using pesticides, etc. He is happy to report that over 50 species of birds have now been seen on his 1.5-acre property (that’s in a suburban neighborhood).

In addition to feeding birds, here are some of Scott’s other interests:

  • Hiking and the outdoors: His favorite hike is the one that doesn’t end.

  • Penguins: Scott’s goal is to travel the world to observe all 17 species.

  • Entrepreneurship: The best part about Bird Watching HQ is that it combines Scott’s love of nature with his passion for starting and growing businesses.
  • Jurassic Park: He has read the book at least ten times. “Life Finds A Way” is one of the best quotes of all time.
  • Disney: Scott and his entire family are Disney fanatics. A few years ago, he started Resort Rat specifically to help people plan their trips to Disney World, Universal, and other theme parks.

Other media:

  • Watch this interview that a local PBS affiliate did on Scott:
YouTube video