John started birding in 1984 with his mentor, Dr. Risser, to whom he was introduced by his grandmother. Since then, John has traveled across the state of Minnesota chasing birds. On June 11, 2004, John became the third earliest ever to record 300 species of birds in one year in Minnesota, finding his 300th, a Least Bittern, near Marshall, Minnesota. He has been doing big years in Minnesota since 1998, but vows to give them up to avoid bankruptcy. Sharing his enthusiasm for birding takes many forms, including serving as a guide/instructor for spring and fall bird festivals at North House.