Wildlife Vocalizations: BJ Quinton

Quinton talks about his unique experience working in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida

Wildlife Vocalizations is a collection of short personal perspectives from people in the field of wildlife sciences.

The most interesting place I have traveled for work was right in my home state of Florida. The Big Cypress National Preserve was the only place I have worked that was so remote that we could only get there by helicopter.

Once we arrived, there was nothing but lush green vegetation and cypress domes as far as we could see. It was like when you go so far out to sea that you can’t see land anywhere in all directions.

It was also incredibly quiet. My favorite moment was when I stopped to rest under a tree and could hear the sound of a hummingbird flying. A ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) zipped toward me. Then it backed up and studied me for a bit, before moving on.

This made me appreciate how we, as humans, tend to forget that there are still places out there virtually untouched by the human species—at least in recent centuries—since the bird seemed confused by my presence there.

Quinton on a scuba dive offshore near Dania Beach, Florida. Credit: Nick Gadbois

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Header Image: Quinton during a huge gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) dig at a Florida airport about four years ago. Credit: Craig Stout