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Lesley Thomas grew up in rural communities in the Alaskan Arctic, on a fishing boat (troller) in Southeast Alaska, and on a small farm on the Puget Sound prior to its development. Her families of birth and of intermarriage branch from cultures all over the Earth and include hunters and gatherers, scientists and healers. Her interest in shamanism and birds began early. Once she studied arctic ecology and researched the effects of oil spills on a Chukchi coast salt marsh. Although she now lives in Seattle, she returns to the Arctic to visit family, go to fishcamp, pick berries and climb hills.