55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Parking and traffic in Golden Gate Park will be congested the weekend of Oct. 3–5. Save $3 on Academy admission when you take public transportation.

Eric Hupperts

Eric is a Biologist for the Steinhart Aquarium.


Briefly describe your job and your area of expertise. My primary area is providing daily husbandry for the Aquarium’s raptors, parrots, and passerines (songbirds).  Our raptors are trained twice daily using positive reinforcement with the goal of having healthy and calm birds that are comfortable in a variety of situations.  Our dynamic passerine collection includes about a dozen species in a walk-through neotropical rainforest exhibit.

What got you interested in becoming a biologist? My parents say it began when I visited the Zurich Zoo as a child and a stork bit my head.  I guess it was destiny to work with birds, though over the years I have worked with everything from leaf-cutter ants to polar bears.

What do you like most and least about your job? I really enjoy giving visitors the opportunity to appreciate the intrinsic value of wildlife.  Of course, the big bonus is I get to work hands-on with some pretty cool animals and have the chance to witness some neat behaviors.  On the flip side, getting pooped on is never the best part of one's day.

What college did you go to and what degree did you receive? I attended the University of Minnesota where I earned a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Biology with an emphasis in Conservation Biology.  

What influenced your job choice and when? I was always destined to work with wildlife, though I enjoy both field work and zoo/aquarium work.  My career has allowed me to handraise neonatal giraffes, use Pokemon action figures to help band spotted owls, and perfect my botfly larvae removal techniques (youtube that!).  And now I find myself working in a rainforest in the middle of San Francisco!

Do you have pets at home? What and how many? Currently no pets unless you count occasional visits from the neighborhood cat named Slinky.

Advice for someone wanting to go into your field. The four-year degree is important, but it’s your experience that sets you apart from the competition.  Get involved wherever you can as a volunteer or intern working with both wild and captive animals.

More about Eric


Selected Articles and Publications

Stein, A.C. and E. Hupperts. 2008. A recent sighting of ruddy crake (Laterallus ruber) in Costa Rica. Cotinga 30: 73-74.


Eric’s Suggested Reading:

“Birds of Tropical America” by Steven Hilty, 2005 (University of Texas Press)

“Song of the Dodo” by David Quamme, 1997 (Pimlico Press)

“Neotropical Companion” by John Kricher, 1999 (Princeton University Press)