Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, Mich Coker first developed his love for the natural world while exploring the swamps and forests of the Gulf Coast with his grandfather. Inspired by these formative experiences, Mich began keeping bird, mammal, and reptile lists from the age of five. Birding remained only a sporadic pursuit until he moved to Australia in 1997 and was instantly struck by the diversity of new species he encountered. After buying a field guide and his first pair of binoculars a few weeks after arriving in Brisbane, Mich was hooked!
While studying conservation biology in Australia, he conducted passerine clutch size analyses and researched the foraging habits of ground-foraging rainforest birds. Upon returning to the United States, he served as a volunteer birding tour leader for the local Audubon chapter in Tallahassee and, after moving to Arizona, was a board member and vice president of the Tucson Audubon Society for several years. Since 2012, Mich has lived overseas, including two years in Togo and two years in Nepal. He and his family currently reside in Swaziland, where birding and other natural history opportunities abound.
Over the past twenty years, Mich has traveled to dozens of countries, where he has recorded over 4,000 species and contributed to the knowledge of regional avifauna by documenting first country records for several species in far-flung places such as Togo, Nepal, and Mozambique. He documented numerous first records for Togo, including Mangrove Sunbird, Water Thick-knee, and a very out-of-range Grey Wagtail. In Nepal, where he lived for two years, Mich and local birder Som GC documented Nepal’s first record of Grey-sided Thrush, a globally threatened species that breeds in northeast China and generally winters no farther west than far northeast India. More recently, he photographed Mozambique’s first record of Hartlaub’s Gull. Mich is fluent in French and Nepali, and highly proficient in Spanish.
Updated: July 2018