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WINGS Tour Leaders – Rich Hoyer

Rich Hoyer

Image of Rich Hoyer

Rich Hoyer began keying out wildflowers, raising butterflies and moths in his bedroom, netting tadpoles and dragonfly larvae, and catching snakes, lizards, moles, and voles with his younger brother and father before he finally discovered birding at the age of 14. After graduating with bachelors degrees in Zoology and German he began his dream guiding career in 1996 as a local guide on Saint Paul Island in Alaska’s Pribilofs. He has been a full-time leader for WINGS since September 1997.

His musical ear is always tuned into bird voices, and he has nearly instant recall of thousands of bird songs and call notes in his head, but his interests in other areas of natural history have only grown, and he continues to enjoy learning about various forms wildlife such as damselflies, keying out composites, and photographing beeflies, among many others. His other passions and hobbies include playing piano, singing, learning languages, cooking, baking bread, gardening, and knitting. He currently lives in his homestate of Oregon.

The diversity of Rich’s natural history interests is well represented in his blog, Birdernaturalist.


"Rich Hoyer is a birder extraordinaire. His birding eye and ear skills are phenomenal, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of avian natural history which he shared with us generously. He was very skilled at helping each of us see each bird. His Spanish language skills were also invaluable."
- Genevieve C. on Mexico: The Yucatan & Cozumel 

"Rich knows Oregon and its birds and had a great plan to maximize our birding experience."
- John D. on Oregon in Late Summer

"Rich went way beyond his call of duty. He not only shared his knowledge of the birds, he was exploding with information of the volcanoes that had erupted in Oregon thousands of years before, and how the terrain as we saw it came about. He knew out of place quaint restaurants which he took us to, that added atmosphere to the venture."
- Dorothy M. on Oregon in Spring

"Rich’s knowledge of birds is amazing, recognising every song and call so that the visual identification comes as no surprise. One of the attractions of his leadership is his interest in all natural history, plants, snakes, frogs, mammals and insects – good to meet someone else who shares my enthusiasm for weevils! We’ve travelled with him before and hope to do so again."
- Vicky G. on Costa Rica in Spring

"Rich has such a deep knowledge of general natural history, not just birds, and a sense of delight in everything we saw. In addition, he is just an all-around nice, helpful person, which made it a really special experience to be able to travel around with him. Plus he can change a flat tire like a boss and was completely calm and in control during what could have been a rather frightening and unpleasant experience. And he drove all the way back to Cabo to pick up a new vehicle for us in the middle of the night when the rental company failed to show up with a new vehicle. There's no way to avoid things like that, and the sign of a really top-notch guide is the ability to deal with unforeseen circumstances with competence and grace, which Rich exceeded."
- Lisa S. on Mexico: Baja California's Cape Region

"Rich is an excellent leader. His ability to call birds in, vary his "owl" dialects, and get participants seeing the birds is stellar. He has attention to detail for every aspect of the tour start to finish!"
- Kathy C. on Mexico: Oaxaca at Christmastime

Updated: May 2019