About me

Good day!

As a medical anthropologist, my main focus for many years was on people and how they cope with health issues. At the same time, when I had the privilege to travel for work, I would also photograph wildlife in my free time – either by visiting local zoos, taking photos of the birds and other wildlife where I was staying or going to nearby nature reserves. I showed those photos to family and friends, but that was as far as it went.

Over the past seven years, my interest in wildlife and natural preservation and conservation has grown tremendously. Having a yard, after living in apartments for decades, has given me the chance to observe how different animals and birds behave. My main interest for quite some time was the white-tailed deer, which came about after a beautiful white-tailed doe, whom I named Schatje (Dutch for “dear”), befriended me and began bringing her family to visit daily.

After I joined Project Noah and the local Audubon Society and Chapel Hill Bird Club, I began paying much more attention to other animals and birds. I have found other people who are as passionate about wildlife, nature and the environment as I am, which has been a delight. And I’ve been able to share my interests with children in lower-income groups and have organized birding-by-ear nature walks for low-vision and blind adults.

It has been my good fortune to have my photography displayed through both solo and group exhibitions. One exhibitor, the Chapel Hill Public Library, produced a video that tells a bit about what I hope to achieve in this way.

If you would like to contact me — to give a presentation, to participate in an exhibition or to purchase a photo or photo products like cards and magnets, please write to me at: mdebruynphotography@yahoo.com

Your comments are welcome! Have a great day!

7 thoughts on “About me

  1. Maria, I have recently signed up for your blog and enjoy it so much. I was wonder if you take questions, if not, that’s fine, you’d probably be barraged with them.
    If you do, here’s mine. We have huge numbers of pine siskins feeding along with the other birds we feed. I understand that’s due to the migration irruption, correct? But I’m seeing a sequence of what I think are fledgling pine siskins. They look much bigger than adults but I am pretty sure they are just fluffing up their new feathers. They have baby faces and their chest markings are siskin-like. I don’t see any protective adults hanging around them. They seem to be on their own and not sure exactly what they should be doing. They do fly away, though, and they occasionally eat seed.
    I just think it’s weird to have fledglings so early. Do you think these birds could be baby siskins?
    Best regards and thanks for sharing your beautiful world, Anne


    • Hi Anne, thanks for your comment and glad that you are enjoying the blog. I do answer questions, so please don’t hesitate in the future and put the question on the blog to which it refers. I don’t know where you are located but am guessing that if you have huge numbers of siskins, it could very well be because of the irruption if you don’t usually see them in the winter.
      What you describe about the puffed up siskins could be one of two things. Either they are very cold and puffing up their feathers to stay warm or they are sick and have salmonellosis. I suspect the latter since you say they look as if they don’t know what they are doing. Birds with the disease become lethargic and just sit on a branch or pole and don’t scare away easily if someone (a bird or human) comes near. They do still fly and sometimes eat a bit of seed but they are sick and have a disease that spreads very easily to other birds. The solution (unfortunately for us) is to take down all your platform feeders, clean them thoroughly with a 9:1 water and bleach solution and leave the feeders down for at least a week and perhaps longer to prevent other birds getting it. If you find any dead siskins on the ground, you will know for sure that the disease is present.
      Sorry to give you bad news. I had a purple finch with conjunctivitis in one eye and took down my platform feeders about a week ago. I did leave up suet feeders and a mealworm feeder and the siskins and finches have not been coming round so much. Very occasionally, a finch can recover from conjunctivitis but it usually affects both eyes and then they die as they can’t see. (It is treatable with antibiotics but few people are able to catch a wild finch and find a rehabber who will care for it.)
      Good luck!


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