Meet Our Guides

Brian Zwiebel

BRIAN ZWIEBEL

Owner/Guide

Brian began his journey with birds by enrolling in an Ornithology class at Hocking College in 1993. Six years later he began photographing the subjects he had come to know so well. Warblers are among Brian’s favorite subjects. He spends much of his free time in May photographing warblers at northern Ohio’s Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. His work has been prominently displayed in exhibits throughout Ohio. More than thirty of his songbird images were featured at the National Center for Nature Photography in Toledo, OH. Brian’s award-winning photography has been internationally published in books and magazines including Birder’s World, Bird Watching, Bird Watcher’s Digest and the American Birding Association’s magazine Birding. Brian has also authored articles for Audubon and B&H Photo-Video’s Explora blog and leads photography tours and workshops.

Rob Ripma

ROB RIPMA

Owner/Guide

Rob is a lifelong Indiana resident and co-owner of Sabrewing Nature Tours. He has traveled and birded extensively throughout the Americas and taken pelagic trips into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Rob is currently the President of the Board of the Amos Butler Audubon Society (ABAS) in Indianapolis. He is also on the board of directors for Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO). Prior to joining the ABAS and BSBO boards, he served on the executive board of the Indiana Audubon Society for three years as Treasurer and Vice President. He is co-founder of the Indiana Young Birders Club and speaks at a variety of organizations and schools about birds and birding to share his knowledge and experiences in the field. He served as the primary bird blogger for Birds & Blooms Magazine from 2013-2017.

Rob loves working with new and experienced birders of all ages and believes that teaching people about birds will not only increase interest in birding but also help them better understand why we must work to protect birds and their habitats. A graduate from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in 2008 with a degree in Marketing, Rob lives with his wife Stephanie in Carmel, Indiana.

Eric Ripma

ERIC RIPMA

Guide

Eric enjoys sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge, especially about identification, with birders of all ages and experience levels.  After beginning birding at the age of ten in Indianapolis, Indiana, he birded every chance he had throughout his childhood. Birding has led him from many spectacular migratory hotspots in the Great Lakes region to the Pacific coast and beyond. Eric has also spent time birding in a number of tropical locations throughout Central and South America.

During college and after graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Biology, Eric conducted bird surveys for multiple organizations throughout the western United States. He has also spent a fall migration season banding migratory birds in Idaho. In 2017 was on a team of researchers monitoring a nesting colony of Caspian Terns over the summer on the Oregon Coast. Last year, Eric completed his fourth season as the fall waterbird counter at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is currently living in Louisiana doing shorebird surveys on the Gulf Coast and assisting on a Masters/PhD project on Brown Pelicans.

Larry Richardson

LARRY RICHARDSON

Guide

Larry Richardson has been teaching birding courses and leading domestic and international birding trips for over 30 years. Larry is a graduate of The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources where he majored in Wildlife Management & Natural Resource Policies. He is now retired living in West Farmington, Ohio but still stays involved with birding!

Tyler Ficker

TYLER FICKER

Guide

Tyler found his passion for birding when his 4th grade teacher incorporated bird identification into the science curriculum. Tyler is currently completing his undergraduate degree in the School of Environmental and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. He recently began his second term as president of The Ornithology Club at Ohio State. Tyler is a founding member of Lights Out Buckeyes—part of Ohio Lights Out, a network of programs aimed at making urban landscapes (in this case, the Ohio State campus) safer for migratory birds. He is an award-winning presenter at environmental, wildlife and birding conferences.

Tyler is a professional photographer, so he is likely behind his camera when not looking through his binoculars. If all this didn’t keep him busy enough, he is also a field technician for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Though Tyler currently lives in Columbus year round, he still calls Cincinnati home. He loves birding his home state, especially during migration season, but is experienced in birding Alaska as well as the tropics.

Jamie Cunningham

JAMIE CUNNINGHAM

Guide

Jamie has had a life long interest in all nature and wildlife, but especially birds. A visit to Magee Marsh in NW Ohio during the Biggest Week festival turned her interest into a passion. That was in 2012, now she is a field trip leader for the festival. Since then Jamie has dove head first into birding and especially bird photography. Her award winning images have been featured in a number of publications and were even featured in her own gallery. Jamie was instrumental in forming a Nature Photography club in her hometown, where she shares her wealth of knowledge with members. She also serves on the board of directors for the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society. Jamie is most proud of her involvement as an advisor for the Ohio Young Birder’s Club. She is passionate about sharing her love of birds with youth.

Matt Williams, guide

MATT WILLIAMS

Guide

Matt’s passion for birds began at the age of ten when his grandpa put a pair of binoculars in his hands and took him on bird hikes in southern Michigan.  After college, Matt was hired by The Nature Conservancy to monitor bird populations in central Texas including the Golden-cheeked Warbler, and Black-capped Vireo.  He then spent three years managing the Conservancy’s Texas City Prairie Preserve on the Texas coast, working closely with recovery efforts for the Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken.  Matt’s twenty-year career with The Nature Conservancy has now taken him to Indiana where he is the Director of Conservation Programs. 

Matt is also an author and photographer, and his recent books featuring his photography include Indiana State Parks: A Centennial Celebration, and Endangered and Disappearing Birds of the Midwest.   He also wrote the foreword for The Birds of Indiana, which was released in the spring of 2019.  His photography has also appeared in other publications such as The Jack Pine Warbler, and Bird Watcher’s Digest.  Matt’s favorite places to photograph birds include Texas, Central America, Brazil, South Africa, and Indiana where he lives with his wife and four children.