Bird lover and his dog walking across America - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bird lover and his dog walking across America

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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

A retired house painter is walking across the country, for the birds. His name is Brad Storey and he's making the journey along with his trusty dog "Xena."

The 65-year-old Storey and his Siberian Husky began the walk seven weeks ago at Jeckyl Island, Georgia and are headed for San Diego, California.

He's an avid bird watcher who's raising money on his journey for the Audubon Society. 

"After painting houses for 40 years and raising my kids, I've always wanted to do something on a larger scale," said Storey, as he walked along the beach sidewalk beside Highway 90.

Their large scale adventure is walking coast-to-coast across America.  Along the journey, they're checking out the birds.

"We're doing it as a fund raiser for the Audubon Society. I've been a bird watcher, or a birder, for 30 years. I'm not one of the top birders in the country or anything like that, but I enjoy it as much as anybody does," he said.

We caught up with the pair as they visited with fellow birders along the beach near Jones Park. Marsha Kazal runs an Ocean Springs business that caters to bird watchers.

"Our big concern is getting kids involved with nature. With all the video games they're playing and all the sports and everything, they get outside, but they don't get outside and see nature. And these are people who need to preserve what we have in the future," she said.

Storey took time to enjoy the abundance of shore birds along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. His long time job prepared him well for such a long walk.

"I can't find any excuse to quit. My legs are holding up. Being a former painter, my legs are pretty strong from climbing ladders. So, I keep doing it and my dog keeps doing it," he explained.

And they're doing it to help protect and preserve habitat for the birds 

"The reason we concentrate on birds is because birds are an indicator species for habitats. So, if there's not birds in an area, then that's a red flag that something's going on," said Mozart Dedeaux with the Audubon Society.

Storey and Xena are doing more than their part to spread the message.

"Hopefully, it will raise some awareness about the need for habitats to be preserved," said Storey.

Storey says he's met some fascinating folks along his journey.  He's also had some great bird watching moments, including spotting a flock of "wood storks" in Alabama a few days ago.

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