A local birder is aiming to introduce and welcome others into his 16-year obsession with the release of a new Vancouver Island birding guide.
Former Comox teacher Mike Yip of Nanoose Bay recently unveiled his latest book of wildlife photography, Beginner’s Guide to Common Vancouver Island Birds, Vol. 4. It follows three previous collections of Island bird photography, but this volume is the first to serve specifically as a guide. Along with photographs for identification, the book includes educational information about the birds as well as details on where and when they may be spotted.
“It’s for the beginners and for non-birders,” Yip said. “A lot of people who bought my books were just general laypeople who don’t go birding but they see birds in their yards and they see birds on their walks and they always wonder what they are.”
Yip said there are birds all over the Island, “right from the seashore all the way to the mountaintops,” and his book features photographs of more than 235 of them, including some rarities that can be seen regularly across the Island. He said he compiled the list based on 15 years of bird observations by Vancouver Island birders.
Yip has been birding since 2004. He said he still finds it interesting not just seeing new birds, but seeing old birds and observing their different behaviours, like foraging and interacting with one another.
“It just became passion of mine or maybe an obsession, even, and I was out trying to photograph birds as much as possible,” Yip said. “The birds themselves are absolutely fascinating and I never realized how many different species we had around the Island until I started photographing them and looking for more and finding out what other people were seeing and then trying to find them myself.”
Yip said birding is an easy hobby to get into and that his guide will make it even easier.
“There’s nothing intimidating about it,” he said. “it’s just adding more colour and more information to what you normally see every day.”
Beginner’s Guide to Common Vancouver Island Birds, Vol. 4 is available at Blue Heron Books in Comox, and can be ordered directly from the author by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org