MGA Student Success Center Coordinator's Hobby is for the Birds

Author: Alexandria Brooks
Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2018 12:00 AM
Categories: Pressroom | Faculty/Staff | Events- Public

Macon, GA

Photo of Paul Johnson by Hannah Hartman.

At age 7, Paul Johnson mimicked bird paintings while taking art lessons. Now, he’s channeled his creativity into publishing books about them.

Johnson, Student Success Center coordinator at Middle Georgia State University's Macon Campus, will talk at November’s Ocmulgee Audubon Society (OAS) meeting about the history of birding in Middle Georgia based on his research for the his newly released 2nd edition of Annotated Checklist of Birds of Middle Georgia.

“My interest in finding and identifying wild birds - ‘birding’—developed from my buying Familiar Birds of North America: Eastern Region - part of The Audubon Society Pocket Guides - when I was 10 years old. On that trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway I remember seeing ravens for the first time.”

Shortly after, Johnson joined the OAS to share his passion with others and has since been a long-time member known for his exceptional bird call knowledge.

“Birders like to keep lists, i.e., first sighting of a bird in spring, high counts on a Christmas Bird Count, etc., and share their sightings with other birders," Johnson said. "My first edition was inspired by an earlier 1973 copy of Preliminary and Abbreviated Checklist of Birds of Bibb and Houston Counties, Georgia, by Hedvig S. Cater, an Ocmulgee Audubon Society member at that time. I’ve periodically worked on a second edition since 1998, and in September 2018, Amazon started selling my second edition.”

However, his book is not the only thing Johnson has expanded upon.

“In a few years my ‘life list’ - total species of birds seen - quickly grew from under 100 to over 300. Now my total is 480.”

Johnson’s newly released 2nd edition of Annotated Checklist of Birds of Middle Georgia is available on Amazon and copies will be available for purchase at this month’s OAS meeting on Monday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Museum of Arts and Sciences located at 4182 Forsyth Road in Macon.


Editor's note: The writer, Alexandria Brooks, and the photographer, Hannah Hartman, are both MGA students currently interning in the University's Marketing and Communications office.