Bob Reitsma has a history in neotropical avian habitat selection in anthropogenic habitats. Having a research background and a handyman’s eye, Reitsma provides behind-the-scenes logistical support for much of the research conducted at the Smithsonian's Migratory Bird Center. In addition, Reitsma manages Neighborhood Nestwatch, SMBC’s flagship citizen-science program that currently takes place in backyards and schoolyards in seven metropolitan regions.
Reitsma strives to keep SMBC running like a well-oiled machine. This involves keeping equipment shelves well stocked with functioning equipment and facilitating administrative, permitting and other logistical needs that glue SMBC together. In addition, through careful management and fundraising, Reitsma has nursed Neighborhood Nestwatch from its humble beginnings as a D.C. program with just 40 participating families to a national program involving thousands of participants each year.
Reitsma received his bachelor's degree in biology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1984. Before receiving his master's in biology and environmental policy from George Mason University in 1999, he spent several years working in subsistence agricultural communities in Latin America conducting development work and ornithological research. He worked under former SMBC director Russel Greenberg in coffee plantations of Mexico and Guatemala before conducting his own master’s research on the use of cacao plantations by migratory and resident birds of southeastern Costa Rica.