Meet an ornithologist: Dan Rouse

Dan Rouse is a passionate presenter, conservationist and ornithologist from Swansea, Wales. Having grown up on the South Wales coastline, her life passion for coastal birds and wildfowl thrived and has shaped her life and career. Since these childhood years, Dan has gone on to be widely respected in the birding and Welsh community as an advocate for ornithology, garden wildlife and encouraging others to be involved in birding.
In The Children’s Book of Birdwatching, Dan introduces young nature enthusiasts to the wonderful world of birds with hands-on activities, fascinating facts, and nature-friendly tips for spotting and caring for birds.

How did it all begin?

Since the age of three, I have loved birds. My family put up a bird feeder in our garden and so many birds came! I started to notice details about them. I have taken my binoculars and bird-spotting book on every family holiday and day trip since!

Why do you love birds?

I love how you can find birds anywhere and you’re never alone when birds are around.

Where do you go to find birds?

Oh, birds can be found anywhere! I live in Wales, and even on a walk to the shops I might see starlings or a red kite. But my favourite place to find birds is on the coast.

How did you become a bird expert?

I wanted to learn more, so I would volunteer: doing bird surveys, working at my local wetland reserve, and going on organised walks. When I was older I joined a local birding group.

What advice do you have for kids who love birds?

Don’t be shy! Chat to people your age and share your love of birds. Just enjoy birds and get out there and find some!

What is your favourite bird?

The red-breasted goose – it is FULL of personality!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen birds do?

I watched a migration in action at Spurn Point, a peninsula near Yorkshire. I saw thousands of goldfinches, tree sparrows, linnets, and pipits all funnel down the point and off over the sea – it was amazing!

What’s your favourite thing about birds?

Every single bird is different. I used to collect Pokémon cards and they all have strengths and weaknesses – and it is the same with birds!

What is the rarest bird you’ve ever seen?

The rarest bird I’ve ever seen in the wild is a Rüppell’s vulture – a very large African vulture. I saw it on migration in Portugal.

What can we do to help birds?

We should be trying to protect birds before we lose them. Birds don’t care if you live in a flat or a house. All you have to do is make the outdoor spaces near you a little more welcoming for birds.

What is your best birdwatching tip?

Enjoy it! Birding is supposed to be fun.

Discover more about Dan and her wildlife projects via her website here

The Children's Book of Birdwatching is out now! Get your copy here.

Are you ready for The Big Garden Birdwatch?

From acrobatic blue tits and charismatic robins to noisy magpies and cheeky gulls, birds and their unique behaviours make for fascinating viewing. No matter where you are - in your garden or at the seaside, in the countryside or the big city - see how many of our feathered friends you can find with our bird spotting guide for kids.
Download your bird spotting guide here