This series Birds of Florida in Breeding Glory presents five of these awesome creatures we call birds during a particular stage of their lives. In Spring during the breeding season, many birds grow special plumes and their lores–facial skin around the eyes–change colors.
These magnificent plumes almost caused the extinction of great egrets at the turn of the 20th century, when they were hunted in droves for their nuptial feathers used by the fashion industry for women’s hats. The roseate spoonbills met the same fate, their pink feathers were worth their weight in gold. These species have mostly recovered, although they never regained their numbers, and still require vigorous protection of their nesting sites. The breeding season is a time when birds display their new attire in full glory to attract mates and start families, and I find them quite beautiful and impressive.
I became interested in photographing birds when I moved to Tampa, Florida, three years ago. After hundreds of hours in the wild, suburban areas of the state scouting for breeding colonies and observing the lives of avian families, my enthusiasm developed into a deep love for birds. Whether photographing people, animals, or plants, I always strive to bring out the soul of my subjects. There have been instances when I have felt that a strong connection with these avian friends might actually be mutual.
Birds are amazing creatures that need our attention and protection and they should not be taken for granted. I find observing and photographing them to be a very gratifying endeavor. I hope this work will help promote a better appreciation and understanding of them and contribute to their protection.