Anthony Floyd (photo by Glenn Nelson)
By Anthony Floyd
Editor’s Note: In celebration of the third annual Black Birders Week, we asked Anthony Floyd, member of the Seattle Audubon board, for some of his images and thoughts on his path to bird photography. Black Birders Week 2022 is May 29–June 4.
My journey in birding developed much later in life, after general interests in nature and other kinds of photography. Zoo and aquarium trips, with occasional hiking trips for good measure, were always a staple of outings with my kids. Seattle Audubon Nature Camp really exposed them to a deeper dive in birds, as well as their habitats and conservation.
Bird photography took off as my kids’ knowledge and interest grew and we took more trips together to find feathered creatures. At the time, I was also looking to do more with my gear, which was more specialized for sports photography. What started as something to do in the sports off-season became a primary passion. There really was no turning back at that point. Feeders went up, and cheap binoculars were always in the car, just in case.
From a technical standpoint, bigger birds are easier to photograph, especially from a distance or in flight. Bigger birds, up close, can be awe-inspiring. The Bald Eagles pictured were part of a much larger group fighting for salmon along the Nooksack River in northwest Washington. This was one of my first outings as a long solo trip looking for a specific species.
I count myself as lucky to see behavior that I thought could be once in a lifetime; it was more dramatic but no less rare than capturing an American Bittern blending in and swaying with the reeds in perfect camouflage. I have grown to appreciate the nondescript, little brown birds that are often the bellwethers of the habitat health which guide our conservation efforts.
And we still keep cheap binoculars in the car, just in case.
For more Black Birders Week events, visit:
Great Blue Heron
Seattle Audubon Board Member
Anthony is a research scientist at the University of Washington. For the past 20 years, he has helped lead numerous studies on substance use disorder treatment, much of that related to opioid use disorder. More recent work has also focused on firearm injury prevention. In addition to being a community theater actor and avid photographer, Anthony is an aspiring birder. He holds a doctorate in Sociology from Stanford University.