Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Pepper Trail

photo of Pepper Trail

Pepper Trail has traveled the world in the course of his studies on the ecology, behavior and conservation of birds. After receiving his Ph. D. from Cornell University, Pepper did post-doctoral research at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the California Academy of Sciences. An expert photographer and writer, his work has appeared in publications ranging from Science, Evolution and Conservation Biology.  He is also a widely published poet, and his collection Cascade-Siskiyou: Poems was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.

For over 20 years, Pepper has served as the forensic ornithologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, work that has earned him the title of "the Sherlock Holmes of bird crime."  He is the creator of the leading feather identification website, The Feather Atlas of North American Birds.

Pepper enjoys leading tours to the world's top natural history destinations, including the Galapagos, Amazon, Antarctica, and New Guinea.  His enthusiasm and sense of humor always convert a few 'non-birders' to 'birders' every trip.  And his lecture in the persona of Charles Darwin is not to be missed!

What Our Travelers Say

He's tops in all he contributed to my enjoyment of the trip.  Thank you for choosing him. 

- Diane B., Amazon River Cruise

Upcoming Tours

Lisbon to the Canary Islands by Sea: Spain, Morocco, and the Atlantic Isles

14 days | Starting at: $9,570
Oct 26, 2025 - Nov 8, 2025

Aboard the 184-guest Le Bellot
Tour Details ››