says 17-year-old high school student Hannah Floyd enthusiastically. She lives in the state of Colorado and loves observing birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Up to now, she has only caught sight of a screech owl once.
Hannah’s favorite place to go for a walk is through the woods near the campus at Lamar Community College. It’s there that she always comes across new birds, animals, and plants. The woods are home to frogs and birds, foxes, beetles, and plants – a vibrant smorgasbord of flora and fauna that you probably wouldn’t see at first glance. If Hannah manages to get a great photo, she shares her sighting straight away on her Instagram account, which showcases her talent for capturing razor-sharp animal and plant shots.
The American Birding Association picked up on this talent and invited Hannah to write multiple articles for their association magazine and to pass on her passion for birding to others through presentations at festivals all over the US. Hannah is always excited by invitations like this: “I enjoy photography and am passionate about sharing my experiences and discoveries with others,” explains the 17-year-old.
“For me, nature means discovery, adventure, connection, and fulfillment. On my walks and hikes, I want to learn not only about wildlife, but also how to protect and preserve these natural species for further generations. You do not need to go to the ends of the earth to experience nature; it’s a half mile walk from your house or even in your own backyard,” believes Hannah.
She found her own patch just a short walk from her house: Hecla Pond. The small duck pond reveals secret after secret about the local flora and fauna, and Hannah spends hours there in the summers looking for American Bullfrogs and watching various dragonflies flit across the water.
The high school student first encountered Swarovski Optik at a festival for nature enthusiasts in the town of Lamar. “I was slightly younger and I visited the High Plains Snow Goose Festival. A friend of ours lent me his scope and I was impressed by how closely I could zoom in on the Golden Eagles and Prairie Falcons above us. It was as if they were right in front of me,” comments Hannah today about this unique experience.
Anyone that talks to the teenager will soon notice how infectious her enthusiasm is. It will make you want to pack up your camera and try your luck in the garden or a nearby park. And why not? Birding Patches everywhere are waiting to be discovered, and have so many surprises in store. Give it a go yourself!
Hannah's home region of Boulder County lies in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the US. Urban sprawl and nature blend to form a unique experience that draws in millions of nature lovers every year, hoping to catch a glimpse of one – or preferably several – of the over 100 native bird species. In Boulder County, you’ll find birds like the Black-billed Magpie, Steller’s Jay, and the Mountain Chickadee, who share their habitat with mammals including Mule Deer, the Striped Skunk, and American Black Bears. It’s a veritable paradise – and it’s right on Hannah’s doorstep.
Hannah is 17 years old, a high school student, and lives with her family in Boulder County in the center of the United States. She took up birding as a hobby at a young age – even as a child, she was encouraged by her parents to get outside and discover nature. And that’s exactly what she did. At the tender age of just four years old, she impressed her parents by imitating the croaks of Common Ravens. These days, she is active in the American birding community and involved in iNaturalist, a platform where observations of the world’s biological diversity are documented and exchanged. Despite having lived in a land-locked state her entire life, Hannah hopes to one day study marine science.