For my post this month, I’m interviewing young birder Josiah from Manitoba. Josiah writes at his blog Birds in Your Backyard.
PB: Please tell me a little bit about yourself.
Josiah: I’m 12 years old and live just out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, with my family and dog.
PB: When and how did you first become interested in birding?
Josiah: Two summers ago we were visiting Ontario and went to the African Lion Safari [in Toronto]. I volunteered to have a Harris’s Hawk land on my hand. That sparked my interest. I researched on the internet a lot about birds of prey and falconry (mostly on The Peregrine Fund) and wrote little booklets about raptors and falconry. My interest soon spread to all birds and bird watching in general.
PB: Is there a bird on your wish list or a “nemesis bird” you would really love to see or photograph?
Josiah: I would love to see and photograph a Snowy Owl.
PB: What is your most memorable birding experience so far?
Josiah: Probably when we went out with Christian Artuso and photographed amazing shots of a Rough-legged Hawk hover and dive sequence which you can read about on my blog.
[Note from PB: Christian Artuso works for Bird Studies Canada as their Manitoba Program Manager.]
PB: What is your favorite bird or bird species?
Josiah: When I first started bird watching it was the Golden Eagle, and I think I could say it probably still is. It’s hard to say though; I love all birds of prey, especially owls, eagles, and shrikes.
PB: Where is your favorite place to go birding?
Josiah: Oak Hammock Marsh [north of Winnipeg]!
PB: What do you like best, and least, about birding in the winter?!
Josiah: I don’t like when it gets VERY cold! My binoculars fog up and are basically impossible to focus in the cold. The camera isn’t supposed to go in freezing weather, but here it’s way below freezing, when outside; I keep it in my coat to keep it warm. Most of all, however, how most of the birds go away! I like the new birds that come in, Pine Grosbeaks, redpolls, and especially the owls. I did my first Christmas Bird Count this year and that was very fun!
PB: Your blog and the photos are wonderful. What made you start Birds in Your Backyard?
Josiah: The birds in our backyard — I wanted to start blogging about it and help others attract birds to their backyard. Your backyard is the best spot to watch birds, because that’s where you’ll be most [of the time]!