Nature Travel Network Exclusive!

No Finish Line: Discovering the World’s Secrets One Bird at a Time

by Bernard F. Master

Cover No Finish Line

No Finish Line: Discovering the World’s Secrets One Bird At A Time is an absorbing memoir composed by world birder, conservationist, Viet Nam vet, and pioneering businessman Dr. Bernard Master. Bernie, as he’s known to friends, has traveled the world, observed three-quarters of the world’s bird species, and left an indelible footprint on conservation.

We are pleased and honored that Bernie has chosen to share this volume in its entirety on Nature Travel Network. One chapter will roll out every week.

Read on for a compelling glimpse of a world birders’ life story, one marked by true grit and determination and a passion for bird conservation. Bookmark this page and check back here next Sunday.

To buy Bernie’s book for your home library or as a gift, click here.

Start hereChapter One

My internship at Doctors Hospital in 1966 was a breeze. I was well prepared from my medical school training and moonlighting at various Philadelphia hospitals during my last two years in school. Just about every medical specialty had some appeal to me...

Read now

About Bernie

I first met Dr. Bernard Master in a board room. This wasn't some wood paneled board room of one the successful medical companies he pioneered, but in some makeshift temporary space, a back porch which served as a dining room, next to the davenport, in which a handful of Ohio birders had gathered to formulate plans for Ohio's inaugural ornithological society. From there, plans evolved, pieces fell in place, and we soon co-founded, with several of Ohio's top birders, the Ohio Ornithological Society, which would go on to become a successful organizing network for birders in Ohio. This demonstrates one of Bernie's greatest knacks - keeping his ear to the ground and being at the right place and time to make things happen.

Bernie is known to his Ohio tribe, and to many birders around the world, as a conservationist, world birder, and all-around great guy. He also happens to have a life list - at last count - of 7,805 birds.

Bernie is the first American to see a representative of every bird family in the world and even has a bird named after him (Vireo masteri, Choco Vireo, from Colombia; see IBIS, October, 1996 for details).

These are impressive achievements to be sure, but what really motivates Bernie is the aesthetic wonder of every bird he sees and a desire to conserve them. He's quick to point out that he did not trot in the forest after bird guides ticking birds of a checklist, he avidly studies the places he travels and the birds who live there, he soaks in each sighting as if it may be his last.

His commitment to birds has motivated Bernie to support numerous conservation projects around the world and he was once honored by HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands for his contribution to conservation.

Trained as a family practitioner and combat physician in the Viet Nam war, Bernie went on to have a long, distinguished career as a health care professional and entrepreneur who served the inner-city and elderly populations in Columbus, Ohio. He was the founder, Chairman and CEO of Health Power, Inc., a health-care company, and is credited with the development of a highly effective health care system throughout Ohio. He pioneered the first managed-care company in the country serving Columbus and Dayton’s Medicaid patients. He was honored with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award by the Columbus Education Association in 1995.

In No Finish Line: Discovering The World's Secrets One Bird at a Time, Bernie reveals a series of characters and life events that add up to an incredibly interesting life story. Even his war descriptions take on a life of their own - giving us glimpse of an early life marked by true grit and determination, one that culminates in a life devoted to birds and birding travel, punctuated by genuine acts of bird conservation.

I am pleased and honored to feature Bernie's life story on Nature Travel Network. I think you'll enjoy getting inside the mind and travels of a world birder. If you wondered about the world's top listers - how do they do it? - then read on to see the path that Bernie took. As he states in his introduction: "My own life has been one amazing adventure after another with no finish line in sight."

One chapter will roll out every Sunday. Bookmark this page and keep checking back.

--- Laura Kammermeier, Editor, Nature Travel Network (March 10, 2016)

Read full bio