Mark Blazis, noted hunter, especially for deer around the world and African game, safari and tour leader, scientist, writer, sportsman, and naturalist, is a birdbanding researcher, working with the Duik-Wasser Lab at the Yale School of Public Health on neotropical migrant birds and their role in spreading Lyme disease. He has traveled the world studying birds and recorded over 6,000 species. His birdbanding work on neotropical migrants in Massachusetts with respect to Lyme disease has been pioneering.
He has led 39 tours into Amazonia, focusing on the Napo River of eastern Ecuador.
He has studied birds in Ecuador since 1988, documenting many plumage discrepancies in current field guides. He recently completed his 39th expedition to the lowland rainforests of Ecuador, working with Quichua Indians and American assistants trained by him to document plumages and field marks that differ from the most recently published field guides to the BIRDS OF ECUADOR. His goal is to provide Ecuadorian ornithologists, including Ridgley and Greenfield, with details and photos of variances, errors, or omissions to help bring more accuracy to what is now known, described, and illustrated. He hopes to make available basic parameters of measurements of species to further aid in identification, aging, and sexing, vital tools that are currently not available, as they are to Americans using the Pyle data for North American birds.
In Massachusetts, Mark Blazis (Master Bander federal permit #22361) is Director of the Auburn Birdbanding Research Station, working on studying neotropical migrants and Lyme disease, in partnership with the Duikwasser Lab of the Yale School of Public Health, determining strains of Lyme disease carried by birds. His research team captures, analyzes, and releases over 2,000 migratory songbirds per year in Massachusetts, though the scope of his research has also included Connecticut and Maine.
An award-winning member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association, the twice-weekly current columnist of the OUTDOORS column for the New York Times-owned WORCESTER TELEGRAM AND GAZETTE, his column covers all aspects of conservation, fish, and wildlife, including management, reaching out to 200,000 people twice a week. He is the recipient of the New England Outdoor Writers highest honor, the Richard Cronin Award. He has a weekly cable television program on the Charter Cable Network: MARK BLAZIS SAFARIS. He has led dozens of safaris to Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, and Madagascar).
A dual major in Biology and English, much of his career was teaching Science in public schools or research writing at Clark University.
Mark Blazis has brought 24 medical teams to help the Quichua Indians in the rainforests along the Napo River of Ecuador, often coming two or three times a year. He has helped empower local natives, providing them, over the years, with optical equipment, educational supplies, financial assistance, as well as teaching them research skills and bringing them back to the United States to improve their English. He has assisted rainforest Indians, including Olger Licuy, to form their own bird guiding company, Jungle Birders, and introduced Ecuador’s Dr. Pablo Leon, among many others, to his research.
He was chosen personally by the late Roger Tory Peterson as North America’s Nature Educator of the Year for all of North America, and Mark has been feted for national awards in conservation education and research, being subsequently recognized and celebrated by the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Garden Club of America.
He has co-written and edited 10 local field guides to the fauna and flora of Massachusetts and produced one audio recording of the songbirds of central Massachusetts.