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Author: Paul Donahue


Paul Donahue is an ornithologist, naturalist, bird painter and environmentalist,

who has been working in the South and Central American rainforests since 1972,

and in the Pantanal since 2007. He has spent five seasons as the jaguar

biologist/naturalist for SouthWild, observing jaguars daily and taking over

100,000 photographs of them. During his time in the Pantanal, in addition to

observing Jaguars, he also studied the nesting behavior of the Zigzag Heron

(Zebrilus undulatus). In his work in the neotropics, in general, he has also tape-

recorded bird vocalizations, painted birds, and guided natural history tours. With

his wife Teresa Wood, he has done considerable work in the rainforest canopy,

constructing about 50 canopy level observation platforms and overseeing the

construction of two canopy walkways, one in eastern Peru and one in Costa



“Despite how many times I have come upon a Jaguar in the wild, and how many hours I

have spent watching the species, I still get a thrill each time I spot one. I sincerely hope

that this magnificent creature will be around for a long time to come to inspire future

generations of naturalists in the way it has inspired me.”


Paul began observing, drawing and painting birds during his teenage years,

spending much of his free time roaming about in a large state reservation near

his parents’ home. During his high school years, he began volunteering on

weekends and vacations at the Manomet Bird Observatory (now the Manomet

Center for Conservation Biology), near Cape Cod, learning to band birds and

eventually getting his own banding permit.

After graduating from high school, he spent a year at the University of

Massachusetts, then left school to work full-time at Manomet Bird Observatory,

first as an intern, then as a research assistant. He worked there on and off for

four years, banding birds, conducting censuses of migrating shorebirds and sea

ducks along the Massachusetts coast, and surveying seabirds from research

vessels off the Atlantic Coast. While working at the bird observatory, an

opportunity arose in 1972 to assist a researcher studying birds in Colombia.

During the three-month stay, he became captivated by the birds of the American

tropics and has spent a large part of most years since working in the tropical

forests of South and Central America, observing, tape-recording, netting and

painting birds. The rainforests of the western Amazon Basin in Peru are a

favorite area and one of the places he knows best.

A committed environmental activist, Paul and his wife Teresa speak regularly to

groups, particularly student groups, on environmental issues. Paul also works

with the Forest Ecology Network, a Maine non-profit environmental organization

concerned with forestry, pesticide, groundwater and land conservation issues.

He now lives in Pacifica, California with his wife Teresa.

Paul Pousada Piquiri 8-13-15.2.tif
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