Pepper grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, on a wonderfully dilapidated 100-acre farm. A family trip to Mexico when he was 12 instilled a lifelong love of travel, which has taken him to all seven continents and across the oceans of the world. He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University for his field study of the mating behavior of the spectacular Guianan cock-of-the-rock in Suriname, and he's since carried out field work on bird behavior and conservation in the Caribbean, Panama, Polynesia, and Vietnam. A Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, Pepper lives in Ashland, Oregon, where he works at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory. As the nation’s only forensic ornithologist, he is responsible for identifying all bird remains submitted in investigations of federal wildlife crimes and testifies as an expert witness in courts around the US. Pepper much prefers living birds, however, and his enthusiasm and sense of humor give birders and non-birders alike a new appreciation for the wonders of the avian world.