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WINGS Tour Leaders – Raymond VanBuskirk

Raymond VanBuskirk

Image of Raymond VanBuskirk

Raymond L. VanBuskirk's love for the natural world was born in the pine forests of the Land of Enchantment. He is a New Mexico native and has spent the first 30-odd years of his life following his dream of creating a career around birding. Raymond co-owns and operates BRANT Nature Tours, a New Mexico-based nature travel company with a strong commitment to both environmental and social justice. His career experience also includes multiple ornithological field research positions, including two summers as seabird research technician on the Arctic Ocean, head Rosy-Finch researcher with Rio Grande Bird Research Inc., past president of the Central New Mexico Audubon Society, board member of Western Field Ornithologists, ABA young birding camp instructor, and birding specialist for Leica Sport Optics. Raymond is a proud member of Queer Birders of North America (QBNA), the continent’s informal club for LGBTQ+ members of the birding community.



"Raymond is an exceptional leader and expert birder. He always starts with the ground rules, so everyone in the group knows what behavior is and isn't expected in and off the field. Over dinner, he tells us what birds, weather, terrain, etc., we are likely to encounter, and when the unexpected occurs, he explains why and how he is adjusting the schedule. Raymond shares his knowledge of birds, plants, and everything nature with the group. He is a great teacher, pinpointing exactly what field marks distinguish similar-looking species. Patient, respectful, non-judgmental, and accommodating toward everyone he meets, Raymond is the best!"
- Karen M. on New Mexico in Winter

"Raymond was an outstanding leader. I can’t say enough good things about him. Superbly knowledgeable, both about the birds and the areas we were birding. Great people skills, very patient and attentive. Taught as he went along, pointing out identifying details and distinguishing traits. Helped me attempt to learn birds’ songs with which I’m not familiar. He always let us know the schedule for each day, what kind of gear we would need, etc. Raymond deserves the very top rating available."
- Marisa W. on Texas Edwards Plateau & Big Bend

"Raymond is an exceptional tour guide, I will look for other tours that he leads. His bird finding, quick ID skills, ability to explain bird location, and broad knowledge about the state were much appreciated, and I found that he excelled in the soft skills--he was patient and accommodating, I did not see him express impatience in any situations, a rare quality when leading seven very different individuals for so many days. He seemed to genuinely enjoy the group. I believe that this trip is my favorite among the many tours that I have been on."
- Jean B. on New Mexico in Winter

"WINGS is extremely fortunate to offer the services of Raymond VanBuskirk, arguably the greatest birding talent of his generation. His encyclopedic knowledge of birds and unparalled birding expertise provide his clients with a trip experience second to none. I am not exaggerating when I say that no bird escapes Raymond's attention and he is unerringly able to ferret out and identify by sight or sound every species encountered in the field. Tireless, knowledgeable, well-organized, congenial, patient, and non-condescending are some of Raymond's more admirable qualities."
- Dr. Steven C. Guy

"Raymond was an excellent addition to the tour. His interaction with the clients was second to none, especially considering his age and ours!"
- Chris H. on Panama: Darien Lowlands

"Raymond was also a valuable asset to the tour. For such a young man, he is articulate, and expert birding guide, knowledgable about a wide variety of subjects." 
- Mary G. on Panama: Darien Lowlands

Updated: February 2023