Story and photography by Ethan Meleg
This is my first bird photography column for OPC and an attempt to fill the big shoes that Scott Linstead has left. You already know me as the wise guy who writes the humour column on the back page, so I’d like to use this issue to establish my credibility as a bird columnist with you. I feel this is important because the only credential needed to write a humour column is a lack of shame and willingness to tell others about the time you pooped your pants when an elephant seal charged you. A bird photography column is a much more serious affair!
I grew up near Point Pelee National Park, one of the best places on the continent to watch migrating songbirds. My mom worked at the park, so I would follow the park naturalists around, incessantly pestering them with questions about birds and other kinds of wildlife. My grandparents had a farm where I also spent my free time wandering around the fields, forests and ponds. As a farm kid, I tried hunting waterfowl (ducks and geese), but that interest subsided and I opted for binoculars instead of a shotgun.
Along the way, my mother married a top-notch birdwatcher and this catapulted my birding skills to a much higher level. Through sheer nepotism, I joined his bird-watching team (I was the team driver and back-up birder) and we went on to win birding competitions including the Great Texas Birding Classic, the World Series of Birding (honestly, it exists!) and many other smaller events.
To read more of Ethan Meleg’s new bird photography tips column, please pick up the October 2013 issue of OPC today!