Thompson to speak at Lanier Library

Published 2:34 pm Thursday, January 14, 2010

Simon Thompson, the well-known ornithologist will speak about birds to be seen in the Western North Carolina countryside at the Lanier Library on Tuesday, November 19 at noon. The program is free and everyone is welcome.

Thompson owns and operates a bird watching and natural history tour company, Ventures, Inc., based in Asheville, and leads small groups of naturalists and birders both within North America and to many locations throughout the world. Destinations include the Peruvian Amazon, Belize, Galapagos, Greece, France, England and Australia. Ventures also runs daytrips throughout North and South Carolina and offers weekends and longer trips to many of the top birding sites throughout the U.S.

He is also the ornithologist at Chimney Rock Park, where he leads bird walks and has put together the park bird list, and he is active with both the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society and the newly-formed Henderson County Bird Club. With his partner, he also owns Wild Birds Unlimited, a store in Asheville where they sell a selection of seed, feeders and houses for backyard birds, as well as wildlife-related gifts, books and binoculars.

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Born in Malta, Thompson was educated at Writtle Agricultural College in Chelmsford, England, where he received his degree in commercial horticulture in 1984. Prior to taking his degree, he lived in Ghana, Kenya, and Lebanon, where his interest in birds began.

In addition to traveling extensively in the U.S., he spent six months in China studying the crane and bird-of-prey migration as a member of the British China Crane Watch expedition.

After moving permanently to the U.S. in 1987, he spent seven years as the ornithologist and nature director at the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) in Tryon. He has been active in local conservation activities, such as the recycling effort in Polk County.

He is a member of the American Birding Association and the Carolina Bird Club, and plans many bird watching talks and programs throughout western N.C. He has also done a regular weekly commentary on birds on WNCW, the local Public Radio station and currently writes birding columns for The Tryon Daily Bulletin.

The Lanier Library is at the corner of Chestnut Street and Melrose Avenue in Tryon. Brown Bag Lunch programs are held on the third Tuesday of the month. For details about these and other programs, visit the Library or its Web site at