Bernd has had a long interest in animals, having had pet jays, hawks, starlings, pigeons, crows, caterpillars and other critters before age eight. He studied biology as an undergraduate at the University of Maine in Orono, where he stayed to get a masters degree in cell biology. He got his PhD deciphering a new mechanism of body temperature regulation in insects, and for ten years worked on physiology and behavior in bumble- and honeybees in the Entomology Department at UC Berkeley, doing his field work near his home on the farm in Maine. In 1980 he returned home to New England, with two pet ravens. Soon after that he started the raven study that continued for two decades. He is now a Professor Emeritus in Biology at the University of Vermont, and is a practicing writer.