About Me

I have been passionate about birding and birds in general since the age of 4. Now 18, I’ve spent the last few years managing the never-ending days that encompass high school, furthering my birding skills, and fighting cancer. Diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at the age of 12, I’ve spent the past five years undergoing numerous therapies, clinical trials, and surgeries, all in search of a cure. Although my disease persists, I will never stop fighting, nor lose sight of a life free of this disease.

Doing what I love…

Outside of birding, I enjoy following my favorite sports teams (including the Boston Red Sox, Indiana Pacers, New York Rangers, Miami Dolphins, and SC Napoli), chilling out with friends, photography, music, and travel.

32 Responses to About Me

  1. Betsy says:

    Hi Alex,

    I’m packed with the binos in the suitcase for a few days in Florida. Perhaps I’ll get to see your favorite Jay. Wish you’d be there to help identify those southern birds.

    Had three Pileated Woodpeckers on the tree just outside my kitchen window this past week. I think it was the parents and a youngster. What a thrill. We hear them all the time in our woods but rarely see them.

    The grouse are very plentiful this fall and spending lots of time in the apple trees jumping from branch to branch with their tails fanned and cooing to each other. It is quite a sight to see and hear.

    Hang in there & Happy birding,


  2. Gerry Burdo says:

    Great blog buddy. Big Vin wants all the pictures of the cattle egret posted, he forgot what they look like.

    Keep it coming!


  3. Mike F. says:

    Hi Alex:

    Great new site! I love your new idea about promoting Fairfield through better data collection. I put my camera in my car today to be better able to take some shots if I see something on the way to work or in the back of my office. Also, I’ve reached out to a few people about your site. You may hear from some of them. Best of luck with your journey this week. I’ll be in touch.


  4. Chris Wood says:

    Hi Alex,

    Mike suggested that I check out your blog. I help coordinate a young birders event here at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and am one of the project leaders for eBird. I also lead a few tours for WINGS each year and work on an instructional birding video series for Cornell called Inside Birding.

    I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to not be able to go birding. One of the games that some friends and I play when we can’t get out in the field is to take a look at the maps in eBird and try to guess the species. It is sort of like a photo quiz, but based on a species distribution.

    There’s a quiz up now on the eBird homepage:

    Once you are more capable of traveling, it would be great if you had a chance to come and visit the Cornell Lab, maybe as part of the young birder event.

    Here’s a bit about the event:

    Thanks for the great looking site too!

    Chris Wood
    Ithaca, New York

  5. Marcina says:

    Hi Alex:

    I got your blog info. from Mike F. What a great site!

    I love watching the birds from my bird feeders. I was wondering if you could suggest any particular brand or food and feeder to attract the best variety of birds.

    I LOVE your site and look forward to hearing more.

    Warm wishes,


  6. david says:

    Dear Alex,

    Great job. I am so glad to learn a little about birds.

    I have a feeder in the backyard and usually crank up around this time of year and discontinue i spring when it looks like
    there is plenty of food.

    I try to get water out, even when it is icy. Is that okay?


  7. jayne amico says:

    Hi Alex!

    I see your posts on Ct birds and today read your ivory billed post and then went to see the pics and ended here on your blog.

    I am sooooo impressed with you! I would of NEVER guessed I was reading the posts of a young teen! You have me beat already in the birding world!

    I run a sanctuary in Southington and would be happy to give you a tour sometime. I currently have some great birds in rehab, including cedar waxwing, downy, barn swallows and a northern rough wing, a ruby throat, b. oriole and yellow rumped and magnolia warblers.

    I was very sorry to hear about your illness but with your attitude I am sure you will come out on top!

  8. jayne amico says:

    OMG I wrote ivory billed!! Cannot get that woodpecker out of my mind! I meant to write ivory gull of course!

  9. Marie says:

    GREAT photos! Thanks for the blog. And all the best tomorrow, too!

  10. Sharon Lauer says:

    Dear Alex,

    I am so impressed by your list of sighted birds…and your blog in general. We are using WordPress at school and agreed that it’s a good blogging tool.

    I know that today is a turning point for you. You will be in my thoughts.

    I must tell you that birding is truly taking off at school, so I think that Mrs. Curran and I will need your help guiding younger students in their bird watching when you return to school.

    Also, it looks like we have an ornithologist from the University of Boulder coming to visit and talk about her research in April. I hope that you’ll be willing to be her student host.

    I know that your strength – both physical and mental – will make your recovery quicker than any of your doctors could imagine…


    Ms. Lauer

  11. Gerry Burdo says:

    Hi Friends-

    This is Alex’s Dad. His surgery went very well yesterday and the big guy is in great spirits today. His right arm recovery will take some time, but we are sure with his passion he will find a way. We are just grateful that his love of birding motivates him to conquer his disease. Thanks for your well wishes and happy birding.


  12. jayne amico says:

    Glad to hear all went well with the surgery. I just met Alex at Hammo last week and was SO impressed. Please give him my best and to give him a little push along tell him he missed white pelicans that came through the state and he needs to get well soon so he does not miss anymore rarities! :)))

  13. Deanna says:

    Hi Alex,

    I have my fingers crossed that tomorrow (Tuesday) will be the day you come home. I have a red tailed hawk out in the tree in my back yard right now. Unfortunately he’s too far way (and it’s also still too dark) to get a good photo. I’ve had the usual suspects in my feeders–nuthatches, several types of woodpeckers, chickadees, bluejays, and the finches. Will check with your parents to see if the doctors release you tomorrow! I have my fingers crossed!

  14. Darby and Richard Kilian says:


    Your grandfather has kept us up to date on your progress and we are so pleased that you have come out of your surgery in good spirits and on your way to a speedy recovery. According to reports, you are already moving ahead at lightning speed!

    We enjoyed meeting you that summer day on Pine Creek Avenue in front of your grandfather’s house and hearing all about your birding trip to Costa Rica (where I used to live) and were very impressed with your knowledge and articulation.

    Here’s to you, Alex! Keep your chin up, we are all pulling for you.

    Darby and Richard

  15. Bill Sheehan says:

    Hi Alex,

    Enjoyed all your bird pictures immensely. Great blog!

    Hope to here about future trips up to northern maine!


    Northern Maine birds blog

  16. Sandee says:

    Dear Alex;

    HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope 2010 will be a healthy, wonderful year for you and yours.

    It was nice meeting you and your grandfather in Cape May during fall migration.

    Stay well, and keep in touch.

    Happy Birding~

  17. Hi Sandee!

    Nice to hear from you. We really enjoyed meeting you as well.
    Best wishes for a bird-filled 2010!


  18. Kate Haviland says:

    Hi Alex.

    Happy New Year!

    Even though I’ve never been a bird watcher, getting the postings from your blog have made me start to notice all things winged. For example, when we were driving home from VT a big ole thing with wide white-ish wings swooped down and glided in front of our windshield. Maybe some kind of hawk.

    I will pass along your question about a digiscoping camera (whatever that is!) to my parents who live in VT and know a bunch of bird watchers. I’ll let you know if I learn anything.

    Take care and stay warm!
    much love,

  19. Barbara says:

    Hi Alex. I’m a friend of Kate’s mother in Vermont and a birder, but not as diligent as you!

    I was in Cape May in the fall with my aunt, who introduced me to birding a thousand years ago (!), and I see that you have been there, too.

    About your digiscope request — you might want to e-mail the Cape May Bird Observatory and see if they can direct you to the camera gurus in New Jersey Audubon, an amazing organization.

    Also, do you see Birders’ World magazine? It is full of photos taken by birders, with specs given for what cameras they use. And the magazine has frequent articles about equipment, etc.

    As for birds, I’m celebrating the presence of two Carolina Wrens at my feeder in the past week or so. These have been in the area only in recent years, as they are examples of birds (like the red-bellied woodpecker) expanding their range north over time. As a former New Jersey person, I was used to their cheery presence and have missed them.

    I hope this helps a bit. I really like your blog and your marvelous reports of your sightings. What a great list you already have! Keep your recovery going with your apparently indomitable spirit, and I look forward to tracking your reports.


  20. Everett says:

    Hi Alex, i just happened to come across your site while I was researching a beautiful bird that landed two feet away from me while I was daydreaming on my deck in this frigid ct. weather.It was so spiritual and peaceful the way this beautiful colorful bird just swooped down out of nowhere and kind of looked at me as if to say hello and as I observed his vibrant colors and stature he kind of did a 360 degree turn as if he was posing for me. Iv’e never really payed much attention to our feathered friends in my travels (besides trying to avoid the occasion parachuting poop)but this serene experience has definitely peaked my interest and I will be continueing my search to learn the history and species of my recent visitor. P.S i wish you the best in your recovery. Take Care and GOD BLESS Everett

  21. Mitchell Harris says:

    Alex, We just got in and thought you’d be interested in knowing that we looked for LaSagra’s and Mangrove Cuckoo on “No Name Key”. We didn’t see any but saw dozens of White-crowned Pigeons this morning on our way home. The directions are in Pranty’s Guide. They were at the end of Wilder Road on No Name Key. There were also loads of Key Deer walking about the neighborhood and on No Name Key (mostly on the roadside). Best time for those is early morning. So if you haven’t already left the Keys, you might give that area a try. We looked at your website and it looks great. We’re pretty tired and will send another email soon. It was great to meet you.
    Good Birding,
    Mitchell, Kristen, and Harper Harris

  22. LorraineB says:

    Just found your site. I was reading about you on the CT Audubon site so I wanted to see your blog. Glad I found it. You are an amazing person at such a young age. When I saw no chemo posted by you my heart sank. I thought, oh no! When I read that your cancer is cureable I can’t tell you how relieved I was. I just know you are going to do great things for birds, the environment, and probably all animals.

  23. brendan murtha says:

    alex –

    It was GREAT meeting you yesterday! your a great birder, and i cant wait to see you again on future CYBC field trips and meetings. Good birding!

    – your fellow young birder,

    p.s.- i’ll get you that one of these days!

  24. Billy Kaselow says:

    Hey Alex, I am also a 14 year old birder just from New Jersey. I started birding around this time last year and my year/life list is around 270 right now. I would love to meet a birder my own age, so hope to see you on birding some day.

  25. Helen Iwanik says:

    Hi, Alex,

    I heard about you from Deanna Becker who lives in a condo near ours in Florida. We talked about your experience with the Scrub Jays which led my husband and me to Oscar Scherer State Park. Thank you! I admire your work with the blogs, news letters, and book reviews. You are an exceptional young man and I hope to meet you someday.

    Best wishes,

  26. Paul Pinto says:

    Hi Alex

    This is a great blog and I liked the story about the Srub-jays I love the pictures they are amazing and I even Rember you showing me a picture of the scarlet tanager


  27. Phyllis Capello says:

    Hi Alex,
    Always a pleasure to see you and talk birds/birding. Am including an old poem about mockingbirds. Wrote it for my sister–am working on a new one, too.


    Phyllis Capello
    (Dr Aloha, Big Apple Circus Clown Care)

    P. S. Meow


    Mockingbird, Your Notes Increasing

    for G.

    Whistle her a filigree
    exuberant warbler, exquisite thief,
    a song more thought than sound.

    A tremulous whirling
    of maddening notes
    stretched from up to down.

    Her waiting heart, awake, asleep:
    it beats and waits.
    it waits and beats.

    In gray of dawn
    increase your song,
    honey the soul in need.

    Phyllis Capello

  28. Great blog and so many amazing photos! I was hoping to get in touch with you but couldn’t find any info. I hope you can email me back I would love to chat.
    Thanks and happy birding!

  29. Tracy says:

    Hi Alex, I just happened upon your site. Love it. How are you doing? I’ve been through cancer a few times, though much later in life. The birds in my yard are a daily dose of wonderful… and they were a big part of my world through the surgeries and treatments. I’m in Los Angeles. This morning, we had the normal parade of Western scrub jays, American crow, black phoebe, hummingbirds, yellow-rumped warblers, mockingjays and LBJs. Such a delight. I hope you’re doing well. Take care and thanks for sharing your site, photos, knowledge.

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