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Vancouver Island bird store owner’s documentary side gig airs on PBS, Amazon Prime

Tom Dudley travels cross country working on Seeing Canada
At home, Thomas Dudley is co-owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in the Shelbourne Plaza. He is also a talented videographer who has filmed the documentary series Seeing Canada. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Saanich resident and owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Shelbourne Plaza, Thomas Dudley, also happens to be the director of photography for a cross-Canada travelling TV show.

Seeing Canada, filmed by Dudley, is hosted by Canadian journalist Brandy Yanchyk and explores Canada’s intricate cities, culinary attractions and natural wonders.

Two seasons of the show have aired on PBS in the United States and on Amazon Prime in Canada.

“PBS loved it so much that they asked us if we wanted to do a show in the States; it’s called Seeing the USA, we did seven episodes until COVID started,” said Dudley, noting that seven episodes required six months’ work and copious amounts of travel.

Plans are in the works to pick the show back up again as it becomes safe to do so.

Dudley has frequently found himself immersed in the world of film and photography.

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At 18 he moved to Calgary for speed skating and wound up attending the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology studying broadcasting and video production.

He learned to work artfully and skillfully behind the scenes during a stint as a cameraman for the Score Television Network in Edmonton. He also worked for corporate video production companies, which ultimately gave him the experience and confidence to venture off on his own and become a freelance videographer.

“I’ve done quite a bit of documentary work and have been freelancing since I was 27,” Dudley said.

His work has seen him travel to many States and every province and territory in Canada. “If you want to see another world you should go to Northern Canada; the people are different, the landscapes and weather are different, it’s really interesting.”

With many opportunities to garner new perspectives and participate in adventures he never thought possible, he has learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Dudley never imagined as someone behind the scenes that he’d be so deeply immersed in every adventure.

He has a wife, two young kids, runs Wild Birds Unlimited full time with his brother-in-law and operates his freelance business on the side.

To see more of Dudley’s work, visit

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