Tom Leskiw's Published Works

June 2016. "Smashing the Box." Creativity and Constraint, A Wising Up Anthology. ISBN: 978-0-9826933-3-9. Originally published in print version in October 2014, it has now been made available as an eBook. A rumination on how much "literary latitude" is appropriate for a work of nonfiction.

March 2016. "Tales of Roc." NonBinary Review by Zoetic Press Issue 6: 1001 Arabian Nights on the Lithomobilus platform for iPad and iPhone. In March 2016, the journal added the option of viewing content online. The mythical bird Roc appears in several stories from 1001 Arabian Nights. The legend of Roc likely sprang from the half-ton, flightless Elephant Bird of Madagascar that went extinct around 1650. During a visit to Madagascar, I ponder the human need for monsters.

January 2016. "Green Sanctuaries Amid the Brown." Zoomorphic Issue 4. The Sky Island Alliance organization’s data-collection efforts. This essay considers the key role that these far-flung water sources play in the migration of various wildlife species.

November 2015. "Three Heads Are Better Than One." Intergeneration Storytelling Contest 2015. My essay, a work of nonfiction that honored my grandfather and father, was among the winners of this international contest. Scroll about 1/3 of the way down to find my entry.

October 2015. ABA Blog. "Day of the Dead Tribute: A Visit to the Eighth Continent." Autumn is an appropriate time to reflect on friends and mentors who are no longer with us. I remember friend, birding colleague, and environmental justice attorney Luke Cole, who was taken from us far too soon.

October 2015. "Art and Science: Symbiotic Twin Siblings." North Dakota Quarterly. Issue 80.4 (print journal). A reflection on the interdependency of art and science and how we need equal measure of both to make sense of the world.

September 2015. "A Fitting End To Summer While Awaiting Much-Wished-For Wet Noise." During a benefit for the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center and the Jacoby Creek Land Trust, I reflect on the ongoing California drought, difficult fire season, and its impact on bird distribution.

September 2015. Book review: The Lost World of the Old Ones: Discoveries in the Ancient Southwest. Kudzu House Quarterly blog. Author David Roberts, a long-time mountaineer and adventurer, has, over the past two decades, turned his attention to writing about his exploration of the Desert Southwest.

September 2015. "Tales of Roc." NonBinary Review (Zoetic Press). Issue #6: 1001 Arabian Nights. The mythical bird Roc appears in several stories from of 1001 Arabian Nights. The legend of Roc likely sprang from the half-ton, flightless Elephant Bird of Madagascar that went extinct around 1650. During a visit to Madagascar, I reflect on the human need for monsters. Available free on the Lithomobilus platform for ipad and iphone.

June 2015. "Recognizing the Patterns." Under the Sun. We are constantly surrounded by patterns... even if we don't always recognize them.

April 2015. "Black Pearls." Mandala Journal Issue XI: Echoes. A remembrance of Louie Beeson, a friend and housemate.

February 2015. "Lithic Voices." Blue Lyra Review: An Anthology of Diverse Voices (print edition).

January 2015. "What a River Knows." Bhatter College Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies. Special Issue on Water. Vol. IV, 2014 ISSN 2249-3301. The timing of massive floods during the construction of a dam to harness Arizona

December 2014. "Living and Dancing in Two Worlds." Kudzu House Quarterly Volume 4, Issue 3: Winter Solstice. An occurrence of Black-chinned Hummingbird in Humboldt County: coincidence or synchronicity? (pg 20). Also available in print at

December 2014. "What is Meant by Prairie." Pilgrimage Volume 38, Issue 2, "Silence and Sound." A springtime visit to The Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma. link to essay

July 2014. "Smashing the Box." Creativity and Constraint, A Wising Up Anthology. ISBN: 978-0-9826933-3-9. A rumination on how much "literary latitude" is appropriate for a work of creative nonfiction. Then entire essay appears at Smashing the Box.

July 2014. "Marking Territory: A Biological Imperative in Four Acts." Under the Sun. The desire to mark territory is universal. Wildlife, countries, and taggers all do it.

June 2014. "The Road that Leads Home." Kudzu Review (Volume 4, Issue 1: Apocalypse and Renewal). A reflection on the devastating effects of the 1964 flood in Northern California and my many years spent restoring salmon populations. At (page 32).

June 2014. Book review of Ornithologies of Desire: Ecocritical Essays, Avian Poetics, and Don McKay by Travis V. Mason. Blog. McKay is a Canadian poet, essayist, and birder. His work--which is informed by his knowledge of birds, their habits, and vocalizations--is deserving of a wider U.S. audience.

Spring 2014. "Family Matters." Blue Lyra Review (Issue 3.2). Sometimes, the stories that we've spent a lot of time and energy keeping to ourselves have a need to be told.

March 20, 2014. "Facing the Fire." No Regrets: It (Silly Tree Anthologies). A fictionalized account of my fire-walking experience (See "Selected Essays" section).  The publisher's interview of me appears as a companion piece to "Facing the Fire" at

March 9, 2014. "No Twits Aloud."  American Birding Association Blog.  Some reflections on how (and why?) the mainstream media continue to cling to outmoded stereotypes when it comes to birders and birding.

January 2014. "Distant Tremblor, Feathered Flotsam."  Snowy Egret. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake, some scientists now believe that the forerunner to Hawaiian honeycreepers may have arrived via tsunami debris. The identity of this forerunner has long been the subject of debate; as a result of recent genetic research, scientists hypothesize that the islands were colonized by a sister taxon of the Eurasian Rosefinch. (See "Selected Essays" section).

Jan 2, 2014. American Birding Association Blog. My wife Sue and I interview Ron Beck, who conducted a carbon-free birding Big Year in Cochise County, AZ in 2013.

December 13, 2013. "Lithic Voices." Blue Lyra Review (Issue 3.1). An examination of the many roles that rocks have occupied in my life.

December 11, 2013. Scarlet Macaws and Their Kin in the Desert Southwest.Bhatter College Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies. More than 800 years ago, indigenous peoples transported Scarlet Macaws to the southwestern U.S.--more than 1,000 miles north of their natural range. EcoNews. (Minor changes will appear in the print version).

Fall 2013. Kindred (Issue Four: Harvest). The grain-growing renaissance in Humboldt County, CA is one aspect of a vibrant local food movement.

August 2013. Book Review:  "Common Birds of Northwest California: Del Norte, Humboldt & Trinity Counties" by Kenneth M. Burton and Leslie Scopes Anderson. EcoNews.

December 20, 2012. "Remembering Rich Stallcup".  American Birding Association Blog.  Memories of a much-loved and respected birder-naturalist.

Sept/Oct 2012. AIS: We're Here To Help. Birding, Vol. 44, No. 5. American Birding Association. A humorous short story that chronicles a consultant's efforts to reprogram birding aficionados who have lost perspective. This is a companion piece to the next entry.

Sept/Oct 2012. A Strange and Beautiful Hybrid Hummingbird: Anna's x Magnificent. Birding, Vol. 44, No. 5. American Birding Association. Essay and photos by JERRY MAHLBERG on the first documented occurrence of a Magnificent Hummingbird hybridizing with an Annas Hummingbird.

September 2012. Dream for Joel (Circle of Life). Littlest Blessings, Whispering Angel Press. ISBN: 978-0-9841421-8-7. A short story that details a lesson I learned from youngster Joel in this anthology on children.

July 2012. Stage of Life website. Semi-finalist in a contest to describe two songs that have impacted ones life. My Song: Taking You Home by Don Henley was the perfect wedding song for Sue and me and My Song: Come Down in Time by Elton John was the perfect song to get me through the long night.

Spring 2012. The Rites of Spring. Snowy Egret. Vol. 72, No. 1, pages 6-7. Short story: A trip to the display grounds (lek) of the Lesser Prairie-chicken in southeastern Colorado.

March 28, 2012. Getting Along with Grief blog. During the autumn, the veil that separates the living from the spirits of the departed thins.

January 2012. H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon conducts The Long-Term Ecological Reflections program, which hosts two Writers-in-Residence Programs. I've not yet been selected to participate. However, members of the program introduced me to the term pre-relevance during the 6th biennial conference of ASLE during June 2005 in Eugene, Oregon. I shared this essay with program manager Charles Goodrich, who uploaded it to the program's website. An exploration of the term pre-relevance, as it relates to surveys for wintering Mountain Plovers.

October 29, 2011. The Big Year (Movie Review).

Summer 2011. Of Mimics and Drowned Crows. Pellucid Duck online journal (defunct as of November 2012). Starbucks attempt to re-invent itself as a mom-and-pop coffee shop prompts a meditation on mimicry.

Summer 2011. Adventum, Issue 1. Encounter at Snowslide Gulch, pgs 60-63. Three fellow biologists and I undertake a cross-country trip into the Marble Mountain wilderness area to follow up on a report of a possible Marbled Murrelet.

Fall 2010. The Motherhood Muse. Vol. 1, Issue 4. Of Smoke Alarms and Titmice, pgs 26-31. Artwork by Gary Bloomfield. A 1st-place winner in the journals nonfiction writing contest, the essay explores the link between birds and my mothers passing.

Fall 2009. Crossroads: A Southern Culture Annual 2009. Mercer University Press. November 2009. ISBN-10: 0881460958 & ISBN-13: 978-0881460957. Short story: “Sunshine State Sojourn,” which details a birding trip to Florida.


Fall/Winter 2009. “A Region of Wounds: Severing the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands.” A Journal of Built and Natural Environments. Issue 24. Theme: Borders and Bridges.


September 2009. “A Wood-Pewee’s Gift.” Birding, Vol. 41, No. 5, pages 76-78. American Birding Association.


Summer 2009. “The Great-tailed Grackle’s Fall From Grace.” The LBJ: Avian Life Literary Arts. Vol. 1, Number 2. Theme: Urb Bird Contest.


March 2007. “Awakenings.” Lantern Books 2006 Essay Contest. Theme: “Describe a Turning Point in Your Life.”


Summer 2007. “The Discovery of the Hawaiian Islands: A Case of Human-Bird Mutualism.” The Caribbean Chapter of the College English Association (CEA-CC) Fall 2006 Conference Proceedings.


February 2007. “Fracas at Gate 2.” Spoken word ballad, which appears on compilation CD, “Hurwitz in Handcuffs.” Produced by Lost Coast League, the 23 selections  immortalize the arrest of Maxxam Corporation’s CEO Charles Hurwitz.


Fall 2006. “The Mourning Cloak.” Pilgrimage. Vol.31, Issue 3. Theme: Restoration. 


Fall 2006. “Hearing the Songs; Heeding the Call.” A Journal of Built and Natural Environments. Issue 19.  Theme: The Music of It All.


Spring/Summer 2006. “Following the Smoke: Fire—Demon or Ally?” Watershed, Brown University Journal of Environment and Culture. Issue 5. See piece in Leskiw's Essay section.


May/June 2006. “Encounter at Skunk Cabbage Creek.” Birding, Vol. 38, No. 3, pages 66-70. American Birding Association. Artwork by Gary Bloomfield.


November 2005. “Family Trees.” Sage of Consciousness, Vol. 1, Issue 3.  Theme: Resonating Places.  Website no longer maintained; see piece in Leskiw's Essay section.


May 2005. “A Tale of Two Rivers: the Colorado and San Pedro Rivers.” A Journal of Built and Natural Environments.  Issue 16. Theme: The Living Desert.


April 2005. “Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Humboldt County.” J. Hunter, et al. Redwood Region Audubon Society, publisher. Authored the Foreword.


Fall 2004. “Dead as the Dodo?” NILAS, Nature in Legend and Story. Theme: Flowers, Fruits, and Seeds.


Fall/Winter 2002-3. “A Tale of Two Trees.” NILAS, Nature in Legend and Story. Fall Theme: The Nature of Childhood.  Written Sept 28, 2001


Summer 1998. “Possible Predation of a Spotted Owl by a Barred Owl.” T. Leskiw, R. Guitierrez Western Birds 29:225-226. Hard copy journal; also at


1995. “A Guide to Birding in and Around Arcata [California]. © 1995 by the City of Arcata, CA. Authored chapter “Trinidad.” Available at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center. 


1993-present. Column in the Sandpiper, the monthly newsletter of the Redwood Region Audubon Society. Archive (1996-present) available at


1990. “A Study of Plant Materials Suitable for the Rehabilitation of Landslides and Riparian Areas in the Trinity River Watershed, California” (Furniss, Mathews, Leskiw, Six Rivers National Forest). Out of print.



Conference Presentations

Of Borderlands and Severed Connections.” Presented at the 8th biennial conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE). June 2009, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. An expanded version of presentation appears at


“Animals: As Viewed Through the Cultural Lens.” Presented at the 7th biennial conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE). June 2007, Spartanburg, South Carolina.


“Structural Improvements Roads, Fences, etc.) and Their Impact on Wildlife.” Presented at the 6th biennial conference of ASLE. June 2005, Eugene, Oregon.


“Some Thoughts on Human/Plant Interactions: The Lesson of Lotis Blue.” Presented at the 5th biennial conference of ASLE. June 2003, Boston, Massachusetts.


“The Road That Leads Home.” Presented at the 4th biennial conference of ASLE. June 2001, Flagstaff, Arizona.




Pete Dunne. April, 2009



Dr. Stanley Harris. October, 2006, pages 3-4.




Greg Jennings, ecologist. October 2008, page 3.


Paul Springer, biologist. September 2007, pages 3-5.


Tim McKay, Director of the Northcoast Environmental Center. September 2006, page 3.



Book Reviews

The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation. The American Bird Conservancy (2010). Reviewed in 2011.


All other reviews on H-NET.


“Visions of the Land: Science, Literature, and the American Environment from the Era of Exploration to the Age of Ecology.” Michael A. Bryson.


“The Tree.” Dana Lyons.


“Patriotism and the American Land.” Barry Lopez, Richard Nelson, Terry Tempest Williams.