Melissa Mayntz, Certified Master Naturalist

Melissa Mayntz
Melissa Mayntz

Melissa Mayntz is a writer and a birder, with years of experience birding at the state, national, and international level. Her work spans birding trips, tips, and inspiration.

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, as well as on Be Your Own Birder. Contact Melissa at or visit


  • 30+ years experience as a birder
  • 10+ years writing about birding and wild birds for online and print publications
  • 16+ years experience in freelance writing
  • Personal birding in multiple states, countries, and continents to bring insights to her readers
  • Published in National Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and WildBird Magazine
  • Author of Migration: Exploring the Remarkable Journeys of Birds (Quadrille Publishing, 2020)


Melissa has been writing about birding and wild birds for The Spruce and other print and online publications for more than a decade and has been birding for more than 30 years. Her work has appeared in Bird Watcher's Digest, WildBird Magazine, and National Wildlife Magazine, as well as in various Audubon chapter newsletters and other bird-friendly publications and blogs.

Melissa's birding has taken her from the Midwest to the Southeast and beyond. She's been to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the central Pacific, and the Middle East on birding expeditions. These travels, much like birds' migrations, have given Melissa the opportunity to observe and study hundreds of bird species. 

She maintains a birding website, Be Your Own Birder, about the feathered exploits in her yard and her own birding adventures and personal insights.

Melissa has coordinated birding presentations for county fairs and served on the planning committee for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival for seven years.


Melissa studied History Education at Western Michigan University and University of North Florida. 

Melissa has attended a wide variety of lectures, presentations, and seminars at birding festivals, nature centers, and conservation events. She has worked with licensed bird rehabilitators, bird feeder manufacturers, and naturalist publishers, and maintains an extensive library of birding reference books, ornithology texts, and field guides from around the world.

Melissa is currently pursuing certification as a Florida Master Naturalist and Land Steward through the University of Florida. 

Awards and Publications

Melissa received several writing awards throughout school, including independent poetry awards and publication in her high school's creative writing magazine. She was also awarded The Margaret Macmillan Writing Award for Undergraduate Students from Western Michigan University's Department of History and the College of Arts and Sciences in 1997.

Professionally, Melissa was first published as a freelance writer in 2003. Her work has appeared several times with National Wildlife Magazine, including Make Winter Your Best Birding Season (December/January 2014), Helping Backyard Birds Beat the Heat (August/September 2014), Help Birds Weather Winter (December/January 2016), and Bird Feeding: No Feeders Required (December/January 2017). Her articles are also included in the book Wildlife Gardening: Tips for Four Seasons from National Wildlife, published in 2018.

Melissa's first book, Migration: Exploring the Remarkable Journeys of Birds (Quadrille Publishing, 2020), offers a thorough overview of bird migration around the globe, from the myths that persist about this great journey to how birds navigate, when they travel, the purpose of migration, how migrating birds are adapting to changes in the twenty-first century, and more. The book includes detailed profiles of some of the world's most amazing migrants, and offers readers tips for how to keep birds flying for years to come.

Melissa's work about birding and wild birds has also appeared with American Senior Magazine (Winter Birding Is the Best; January/February 2016), the Visitors' Guide for the Biggest Week in American Birding (Birding 101: Do You Want to Be a Birder? and Binoculars for Beginning Birders; May 2015), Watching Backyard Birds Newsletter (Swiftly Spotted; Fall 2013), and WildBird Magazine (Specks in the City; September/October 2010). Her work can also be found on numerous blogs and other bird-friendly websites.

Expertise: Backyard birding and wild birds
Education: University of North Florida, Western Michigan University, Florida Institute of Technology
Location: Cocoa, Florida
Title: Certified Master Naturalist

About The Spruce

The Spruce, a Dotdash Meredith brand, is a new kind of home website offering practical, real-life tips and inspiration to help you create your best home. The Spruce reaches 32 million people each month. Learn more about us and our editorial process, and our commitment to ensuring we are providing you with the most trustworthy advice by certified experts for your home and garden.

More from Melissa Mayntz