When I was five, my sister spotted some American Coots in a lake and asked why some birds have lots of colors and others didn't. My dad gave us our first lesson in bio-diversity and later showed us a field guide to North American birds. I found this guide very interesting and from that time forward I was hooked. At the end of the year in kindergarten, I gave my first talk about birds. That was eight years ago. When I was nine I borrowed my dad's camera to take some bird photos and he encouraged me to photograph all the different species that came to our garden. I found 41 species. That was the beginning of my interest in bird and wildlife photography. In 2012, my dad took me to Canada to find Snowy Owls. We found about 21 at Boundary Bay. One of these Snowy Owl photos won the TIME for Kids 2012 Earth Day photo competition.
This summer I was able to take a trip to the Rocky Mountains as part of a Summer Camp organized by the American Birding Association, which was a really fantastic experience. And recently, I also was able to do some birding in England while on vacation.
Where is your favorite local place to go birding?
It is hard to say I have a ''favorite'' place to go birding, but we often go to Umtanum Creek Recreation Area. This place has rugged terrain, steep cliffs, and attracts a large variety of interesting birds including Lazuli buntings, Yellow-breasted Chats, and low-flying Northern Harriers.
My most exotic and one of the coolest trips to date was probably my pelagic birding trip from Westport Washington to Gray’s Canyon. On this trip I saw Black-footed Albatross, a variety of Shearwaters, Storm-Petrels, Phalaropes, and even Tufted Puffins. I also got to see whales, sharks, sunfish, dolphins, and sea lions.
What kind of birding equipment do you use?
I rarely use binoculars because I am almost always carrying a camera with a zoom lens when I’m out birding. I started out using a Canon Rebel xti with a 300mm lens, and now use a Canon 7D with a 400mm lens.
How do you keep track of your bird observations?
Photographs are the only way I have been documenting my birding experiences. It allows me to review what I've seen and make more accurate bird identifications.
What is your favorite bird sighting and what is the story behind it?
What is your favorite yard bird?
Which birding publications and websites do you read and recommend?
For local range information, I use BirdWeb.org (Seattle Audubon's Guide to the Birds of Washington State). For news about sightings I use the Tweeter's List and eBird.org. For science I use the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I also use Flickr.com to post and share bird photos with other bird photographers around the world.
Which is your favorite field guide?
For reference and identification, I usually use the Sibley guides.
Are you involved with any local or national birding organizations?
I'm a member of the Audubon Society and the American Birding Association.
Your mission in life as a birder?
If I have a mission as a birder, it would be to use my bird photography to encourage people to make their yards more wildlife friendly and to do more to protect wildlife.
Other birding endeavors you are involved with?
A Kid’s Guide to Birding. This is a book that explains birding for kids, what makes a good birder, how to recognize and identify birds, how to attract birds to your yard, and places to visit to find different kinds of birds. The book features over 300 of my photos (see samples below) and more than 175 bird species from a wide range of habitats. It has some of my best photos, including some of my Snowy Owls photos.
|Birder Profile is a blog segment at BirdingIsFun.com spotlighting a fellow birder. If you would be interested in sharing a little about yourself and your birding experiences, please send me an email. Is there a birder you'd like to see featured? Please nominate that person by sending me an e-mail too. Enthusiasm for birding is the only prerequisite!|