Sophomore bird watching enthusiast creates stunning visuals

Hobbs took this photo of a red shouldered hawk at his grandparents house.

Hobbs took this photo of a red shouldered hawk at his grandparents house.

Jenna Peterson

One look at Instagram, and one immediately sees his fascination with birds through drawings of warblers and wrens, photos of chickadees and sandpipers, and countless more depictions of various species. Hobbs is a sophomore at Burlington High School. 

His enthrallment with bird watching first started about three years ago.

“In seventh grade, I started seeing hummingbirds in my backyard. That got me really interested in birds. I don’t know how, but that sort of evolved into liking all kinds of birds,” Hobbs said.

Birdwatching involves dedication, and rising early to catch the most birds. One has to be passionate in order to unlock the full potential of a venture.

“I usually wake up around six to bike to a nearby bird hotspot. I bring my binoculars and camera and usually go birdwatching for a couple hours,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs finds a variety of bird species on successful trips. His success can depend on different factors, such as the season and weather.

“In the spring there would be a lot of variation because of the spring migration, but not so much in winter which is why I try to go as much as I can in the spring,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs is very selective when it comes to which photos end up on social media.

“I generally post one or two of my best photos on Instagram from that day of birdwatching. I will usually take over a hundred photos in one trip but only keep maybe two or three, depending on how good that day was.” Hobbs said.

As for his hyper realistic drawings, he bases them on photographs that are already posted on social media.

“I look at my Instagram feed and there’s a bird that particularly inspires me then I’ll just draw that bird,” Hobbs said.

He’s seen many amazing birds since he started watching for them, and he saw his absolute favorite one two years ago on a trip to Arizona.

“I saw a California Condor flying overhead. They’re the biggest flying birds in the world, and the biggest bird in North America,” Hobbs said.

Birds aren’t the only thing featured on his Instagram; there are also many photos of other animals like deer and beavers.

He plans to carry this interest well into his professional life.

“I think this will be a lifetime hobby and hopefully lead to a profession involving birds. I have had other interests like this but my interest in birds has stuck with me the longest,” Hobbs said.

There are a few birds that Hobbs is dying to see at some point in his life, such as a certain heron that lives in Central and South America. His overall goal, however, isn’t limited to a specific species.

“There’s not necessarily [a specific bird], I just want to see as many birds as I can in my lifetime,” Hobbs said.

You can see Hobbs’ photographs and drawings on his Instagram: @hobble_vt_nature