John Rakestraw has worked as a music teacher, farm laborer, and hardware salesman, to pay for his birding habit. He was a naturalist in Kansas and Ohio before finally settling in Oregon. In addition to working at Backyard Bird Shop Sundays through Tuesdays, Rakestraw is a writer and bird guide (hire him! he’s great! ).

 John is the author of Birding Oregon, a valuable resource for Oregon birders!  He also writes articles for birding and nature publications, teaches classes, leads field trips, and works as a guide. An advocate of birding close to home, his current birding goal is to tally 400 species in Oregon. He lives in a co-housing community near Portland with his wife, Marsha, and their schizophrenic cat.  Visit John’s blog at or email him at