Hi! My name is Laura and I’m a birder and nature photographer living in Ottawa, Canada.
I started this blog in September 2016 to share my passion for the natural world and to pass on my knowledge about birding and photography. I also want to inspire YOU to go on your own birding adventures, both near and far!
How I Started Birding
My parents bought me my first field guide, Roger Tory Peterson, when I was 10 years old. My Mother is an avid birder from the UK so you could say I was raised this way! Growing up our family enjoyed walking in nature and my Mum would always point out the birds to me. Then she began “testing” me on which birds we were seeing. Over time I began to identify birds myself and now I often test her on what we’re seeing!
During my teenage and University years I distanced myself from anything to do with birds. I was way #2cool to be a birder. Although I did find myself inadvertently correcting friends who would point out a “seagull” or some other incorrectly identified bird while we were on camping trips or out in nature. I couldn’t help myself!
Why The “Afternoon” Birder?
I often get asked by people why I am the afternoon birder: “isn’t it better to go birding in the mornings?
Many “smug” birders will tell you that you have to go out at the crack of dawn to see good birds. I’m here to say that there is enjoyment to be had no matter what time of the day you go out! I do most of my birding after 10am and I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
Being Diagnosed With a Balance Disorder
Part of why I don’t do early mornings is that in 2014, I was diagnosed with a balance disorder and had to stop working. This gave me way too much time at home not being able to do all the activities I loved. One day while I was staying with my parents I picked up my Mother’s superzoom camera and started taking pictures of the birds I saw in her backyard. I found myself completely hooked!
Two years later, I upgraded to a DSLR and haven’t looked back.
Why I Love Birding
You can never know all there is to know about birds, they are endlessly fascinating and provide amazing insight about our natural word. When you are out there birding you are completely in the moment, looking, listening, observing and engrossed in what you are experiencing. I often joke that nature is my therapy, but it’s actually true!
I’m not an ornithologist and, as I already mentioned, I’m not even someone who likes to get up early to go birding! But, I do like to improve my birding skills and if I can do it, so can you.
I often post identification tips, quizzes and even the mistakes I’ve made so that my readers can learn from them 🙂 I try to write these articles in layman’s terms because I find it frustrating that a lot of the literature out there about birding is written for experts.
All my life I’ve had a passion for travel and now that I love birding, the two go hand in hand. Living with a balance disorder, traveling is much more difficult than it used to be, but that doesn’t stop me. I hope I can inspire you to get out there and visit some new locations! Check out the Birding Destinations menu for some ideas. I will keep expanding this section of the website as I visit new areas.
Thanks for visiting,
-The Afternoon Birder