Danielle Belleny is a wildlife biologist and avid birder from San Antonio, Texas. She describes her professional journey as a series of happy accidents combined with hard work that led her into a profession she loves. Her favorite part about her job is being able to take a closer look at how and why natural systems function. She is a co-organizer of #BlackBirdersWeek and @BlackAFinSTEM (Twitter and Instagram).

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?

Pro-pun

3 Do you have any pets?

Blueberry (dachshund+lab mix, just turned 2) and Lil’Bit (dachshund, just turned 15)

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

So much bird themed decor. But tasteful, I care about connectivity in my living space. I’m working on collecting Audubon prints. Thrift stores are gold mines.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Cooking

6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Savory

7 Do you speak any other languages?

No

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Yeah I wanna be a storm chaser

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Geology. I love rocks.

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Corona permitting, Peru

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Ability to eat anything

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Come Back As A Flower by Stevie Wonder

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Start off with birding, grab lunch with a friend, birding one more time with said friend, then binge Avatar the Last Airbender

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Blueberry my pup, binoculars, a pair of Tevas

15 What beverage gives you life?

Kombucha

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Wilderness and the American Mind

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

And I quote “A Biologist, Entomologist, or a Paleontologist”

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Showing young Black kids how cool my job is and that this is a career they can have.

19 What got you excited in science?

National Geographic Animal Encyclopedias

20 What excites you about science now?

Getting paid to be curious, take a closer look at how and why natural systems function, and help heal the planet.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Wearing socks with sandals

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can hold 8 northern bobwhites at the same time

23 What is your favorite game?

Game of Things

24 What is the last book you read?

Botany of Desire

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Stay true to yourself

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Sew my own clothes

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Change can be good

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Lay in a hammock

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Hunter x Hunter

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Being a biologist, this is a loaded question. Probably a dead animal for research purposes

31 What is your favorite animal?

Tapir

32 What is your favorite book?

Becoming by Michelle Obama

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Barbacoa taco

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Summer solstice

35 What is your favorite plant?

Texas bluebonnet

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Male platypuses have bifurcated penises

37 What is your favorite season?

Summer

38 What is your favorite smell?

Cardamom

39 What is your favorite sound?

Waves crashing

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’m proud of who I am and no one can change that

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

pepita

42 What is your proudest moment?

Being part of #BlackBirdersWeek

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Tulip poplar

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

The food

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I used to herd goats

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Rhiannon Kirton @Rhiannan_Kirton