Growing up, my maternal grandmother loved birds. We would spend countless hours looking out her picture window to the bird feeder and she would teach me the different birds that would visit. Blue jays, sparrows, chickadees, goldfinches, bluebirds, mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds, robins and her favorite, cardinals. She even taught me which songs belonged to which bird when we would sit outside in the summers. She made sweet water for the hummingbirds and pointed out the herons soaring above our heads to the lake. She fostered the fascination with these creatures as they would swoop in and out of the bird house she kept in the front yard.
While editing, I looked for images that were not only well-composed and properly exposed with great light or an awesome moment, but images that told the story of a bird. Highlighting a bird’s behavior or personality were what reminded me that they’re not just dinosaurs that didn’t die. I loved when I would come across a photo and it would make me smile. Through my curation, I wanted to focus on what makes birds beautiful beyond their feathers, though their feathers are natural works of art, too.
Birds’ feathers, behaviors, personalities and intelligence make them some of the most intriguing creatures on the planet and they’re everywhere. Through curation, I went on a world tour through bird species. I saw birds that I’ve never seen before or that I encounter on my walk to work every day. Whether it is through your photos or the old encyclopedias my grandmother had on her bowing, built-in bookshelves, I want to keep learning more.
Thank you to the photographers who participated, taught me a little bit more about the winged creatures in our skies (or the flightless ones with their feet firmly planted on the ground) and for reminding me about how much I loved spending time with grandmother watching the birds outside on the feeder my grandfather had built long before I was born. My favorite is a cardinal, too.
National Geographic Your Shot, Associate Photo Editor
Fun fact: The Beauty of Birds is Your Shot's 150th story! Congratulations and thank you to all of the photographers who have shared with us! We're looking forward to the next 150 stories and beyond!