Hi! My name is Laura and I’m a birder and nature photographer from 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.
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 you can go birding at any time of the day. 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 a lot of 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.
Birding & Photography Ethics
In 2016, I drove two hours from Ottawa to see a lifer Great Gray Owl. I unexpectedly found myself in the midst of a group of photographers feeding the owl with mice to get better photographs. I wrote this article about what happened.
This experience really shaped my views about ethics. As much as possible, I try not to disturb or interfere with the subjects I photograph in nature. I’m also an advocate for ethical owl photography and I run a hub on Instagram that features ethical photographers.
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 Travel menu for some ideas. I will keep expanding this section of the website as I visit new areas.
Thanks for visiting,
-The Afternoon Birder