ORNITHOLOGIST, GUIDE AND L.L.BEAN PARTNER
L.L.Bean: How did you get into birding?
Isaiah: I first got into Birding when I visited the Cornell lab of Ornithology in upstate New York. The phenomenal facility dedicated to bird conservation with a nature preserve with beautiful wetlands and forest called Sapsucker Woods. This place showed me the beauty and diversity of birds and inspired me to birdwatch.
L.L.Bean: What are the biggest challenges to your pursuits of birding and photography?
Isaiah: A big challenge for me was to have my voice heard as a young Black birder. Coming into this field, I knew there was a lack of diversity and very few people that looked like me. I felt alone and unrepresented. But when I continued bird photography and connected with more people through social media, I discovered other Black/POC in this field. Also, #blackbirdersweek on Instagram shed light on many Black birders, and allowed me to be heard and represented. I want to make sure no one feels the way I did coming into birdwatching and nature photography.
L.L.Bean: What are things you love to do outdoors that you haven’t been able to experience since the pandemic began? What do you look forward to doing most again?
Isaiah: One thing I wasn’t able to do was to host an Ike’s Birding Hike. It’s been a while since my last hike and I hope to continue doing it more in the future once the pandemic is over and continue to connect people to nature.
L.L.Bean: What outdoor moments make you feel most at peace? Why do you think that is?
Isaiah: Outdoor moments when I’m most at peace is being near the the ocean or a body of water whether at the beach, marsh, lake, or river. I love the water, it is very tranquil for me. It’s a symbol of life, rebirth, and purity.
L.L.Bean: How do you find new places to go birding?
Isaiah: I find new places to bird by using eBird, an app that allows you to view bird hotspots in your area and around the world. I also use the internet to search for nature preserves and birding spots.
L.L.Bean: What clothing or equipment do you always bring with you?
Isaiah: I always bring a comfortable pair of shoes, whether it’s my boat shoes in the warmer weather, or my duck boots in the cooler weather. For equipment, I always bring my binoculars to view birds from a distance and my camera to take photos.
My L.L.Bean favorite is the Indigo Tartan Hooded Pullover. It’s light, comfortable, and can be worn year round!
L.L.Bean: What birding photography tips do you have for people just getting started?
Isaiah: Have patience when shooting out in the field. Sometimes you have to wait for the bird to get in the right position to get the perfect shot.
L.L.Bean: Do you need to see a specific bird to have a good time birding?
Isaiah: I don’t really need to see a specific bird to have a good time birding. Though it would be nice if I were to see some of my favorite birds like the Painted bunting, Swallow-tailed kite, and Bobolink, I’d still have a good time birding if I saw a lot of other cool species.
L.L.Bean: What advice do you have for somebody who wants to get started birding?
Isaiah: Go outside, find some birds, and have fun!