He's not a 'bird brain'

Many of us may think of ourselves as "brains." But how many of us have had it confirmed by a major national scientific journal?

York naturalist and educator Bill Hilton Jr. recently was named one of the "50 Best Brains in Science" by Discover magazine. Hilton, 62, a former high school biology teacher, has operated the nonprofit, 11-acre Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History in York since 1982.

Hilton's specialty is hummingbirds, and he an internationally renowned expert on the tiny creatures. He has banded thousands of hummingbirds -- including more than 52,000 on Hilton Pond along -- to help track migratory patterns and find better ways to protect their habitat.

He also leads trips for schools and other groups at the center, and lectures widely. Hilton recently returned from a trip to El Salvador and Guatemala, where he presented an academic paper and banded birds.

In choosing the best brains for its December issue, Discover reports that it "conferred with leading academics and unleashed a team of crack researchers to seek out the best of the best."

Hilton concedes that it's "neat" to have that distinction. We agree.

It's also neat that we have such a brain right here in York County.