Keith Watson

  A native to Sevier County, Keith has over 35 years of national birding experience, including East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. He began his birding experience as a conservationist and birder in the mid-1970’s in Knoxville, TN as a student at the University of Tennessee. He often traveled to and experienced the “waves” of warblers on Sharp’s Ridge (Knoxville), known regionally for its attraction to migrating songbirds. During his career with the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service, he advanced bird conservation in the Caribbean, Appalachian Mountains, Southeast Coastal Plain, and the Piedmont regions of the U.S. and developed an Avian Conservation Implementation Plan for each national park unit in the southeastern region of the NPS (57).

  After leaving federal service, Keith and his wife Ruth moved “home” to the Smoky Mountains where he established the Southern Appalachian Bird Conservancy, a small business to assist local and regional conservationists with bird conservation needs. He has assisted the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Peregrine Falcon monitoring, Breeding Bird Surveys, Christmas Bird Counts, and special wetland surveys and developed an Avian Conservation Implementation Plan for the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the Piedmont Bird Conservation Region. Together with fellow birders, he has documented birds never reported for Sevier County, TN.