13-year-old bird watcher looks out for his feathery friends
Liam Singh hopes to raise awareness for declining bird populations through his photography work
When most people walk into a park on a bright sunny day, the sound of birds chirping might seem like faint background noise.
But when Liam Singh goes for a walk near Swan Lake in Saanich, B.C., he'll listen for the courtship calls of the flicker, the mating drum of the woodpecker, or the strange song of the marsh wren.
The avid birder is known for his vibrant photographs of birds in their natural habitat. When he's away from the field, he works with the Royal B.C. Museum to help preserve bird skins for hundreds of years.
And, he's only 13 years old.
Bring on the feathers
Singh said his father began taking him out to look at snakes, sea life, and birds when he was nine and that those nature walks piqued his interest in wildlife.
Soon after, he began taking bird watching and photography up as a hobby. He now has a library of hundreds of stills that have amassed thousands of views online.
When he's not at school, he leads bird walks, and has a part time job at the RBCM's mammal and bird prep lab where he skins birds for preservation.
"It's quite fascinating — you can get right inside and see all the different things that make them so diverse."
The talented photographer's interests are growing. He's also began collecting close stills of butterflies, dragonflies, and even spiders.
"Hopefully it will be mammals and plants and sea life next," he said.
With a portfolio that would put most high schoolers to shame, Singh's future is bright. But, he wants to continue to educate others about the threats posed to the North American bird population.
Nearly a third of bird species in the continent are threatened with extinction. The declining populations are often the result of human activities, such as logging or oil spills.
Singh hopes his work will raise awareness as to the many threats these animals face.
Perhaps one day, he'll become part of the solution.
With files from CBC's North by Northwest
To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: 13-year-old bird watcher and photographer looks out for his feathery friends