Keith Hansen with Host Steve Heilig

For the Birds: A Life on the Wings

Join us for a conversation with TNS Host Steve Heilig and artist-naturalist Keith Hansen about his new book of illustrations: Hansen’s Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada. Identify and learn about more than 250 birds of the Sierra Nevada. From tiniest hummingbirds to condors with nine-foot wingspans; from lower-elevation wrens to the rasping nutcrackers of the High Sierra; from urban House Sparrows to wild water-loving American Dippers, Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada showcases Keith’s sixteen-year project to illustrate the birds of the Sierra Nevada.

Download a PDF of Keith’s illustrations to follow along with the audio podcast.

Keith Hansen

Coming from a long line of artists, Keith took up illustrating birds in 1976, his senior year of high school. After extensive travel, he volunteered for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, both at the Bolinas Palomarin Field Station, and nine adventures to the Farallon Islands. Capturing and gently handling hundreds of birds for banding studies gave him an intimate understanding of their build, anatomy, plumage and character, all crucial things for a budding bird artist. Over the years, he created bird illustrations for books, scientific journals, magazines, newsletters, and logos. Taking about 14 years to illustrate the 320 species that occur in that great mountain range, and five years to write, his latest book is Hansen’s Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada. Keith’s workspace, The Wildlife Gallery is located in Bolinas.

Host Steve Heilig

Steve is a longtime senior research associate with Commonweal, a co-founding director of the Commonweal Collaborative on Health and the Environment, a host of dialogues for the New School, and in other programs originating at or founded at Commonweal. Trained at five University of California campuses in public health, medical ethics, addiction medicine, economics, environmental sciences, and other disciplines, his other work includes positions at the San Francisco Medical Society, California Pacific Medical Center, and as co-editor of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. He has served on many nonprofit boards and appointed commissions, and is a trained hospice worker. He is a widely published essayist and book and music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, and many other publications.