Melissa Mayntz

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


  • 10+ years writing about birding and wild birds for online and print publications
  • 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


Melissa has been writing about birding and wild birds for The Spruce and other print and online publications for more than a decade. 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 has been birding for more than 30 years and is developing her suburban yard into a certified bird wildlife habitat with native plants, natural foods, water sources, and abundant shelter.

Her yard is currently visited by dozens of species, including red-bellied woodpeckers, blue jays, northern mockingbirds, palm warblers, painted buntings, common ground-doves, tufted titmice, and the occasional red-shouldered hawk. 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, and worked as a certified high school teacher for two years before finally accepting that writing, rather than teaching, was her passion. She leveraged her talent for writing with her love of birding into a strong voice to introduce birding to others and to encourage enjoyment of and appreciation for birds, as well as to promote personalized action for bird conservation.

Melissa is a largely self-taught birder and 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. This comprehensive program includes specialized, hands-on training about Florida's unique ecosystems as well as conservation, wildlife monitoring, habitat evaluation, and environmental interpretation.

Melissa's 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 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.

About The Spruce

The Spruce, a Dotdash brand, is a new kind of home website offering practical, real-life tips and inspiration to help you create your best home. The Spruce family of brands, including The Spruce, The Spruce Eats, The Spruce Pets, and The Spruce Crafts collectively reach 30 million people each month.

For more than 20 years, Dotdash brands have been helping people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired. We are one of the top-20 largest content publishers on the Internet according to comScore, a leading Internet measurement company, and reach more than 30% of the U.S. population every month. Our brands collectively have won more than 20 industry awards in the last year alone and, most recently, Dotdash was named Publisher of the Year by Digiday, a leading industry publication.

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