Profile: Yoon Lee
Hello and welcome to Soundbirders!
My name is Yoon Lee, I am a junior attending the Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington, and I am the founder of this website/nonprofit.
My very first (official) bird photograph, a mallard in Seward Park
I first became interested in birds when I met my preschool's class parakeet, Bingo. I had just moved to the US at that point and was teaching myself English, and Bingo served as a great friend to talk to while I made the switch from predominantly using Korean to English (I still vividly remember the time I accidentally used the Korean word for "hurry" and quietly died inside).
From there my interest in birds was largely latent, gathering through episodes of the PBS Kids show "Wild Kratts" and watching flocks of rotund pigeons waddling around Central Park. The biggest spark I can remember, however, was witnessing dozens of fledgling seagulls on La Isla de Santa Clara while participating in a homestay program in San Sebastian in the summer going into freshman year. I was delighted by their antics, recording with my shoddy phone camera, and even got too close to a young gull and earning a screaming from its parent.
For a few months I thought about going birdwatching at some point, especially with the Nikon D300s silently gathering dust in my closet after it was gifted to me by my grandfather. This desire was accelerated by an Anna's hummingbird frequenting a tree on my school's campus. In March 2020, with COVID-19 momentarily shutting school down, I took the chance to try out a new hobby. I was immediately hooked on bird photography, and the rest is history.
I am in the process of installing a battery-powered, solar-charged bird nest camera on my school's campus.
I am a research assistant/volunteer for two projects with University of Washington biology professor Alejandro Rico-Guevara. The first is a study on how hummingbirds may use sexually dichromatic wings during mating displays, and the other a study on the evolution of nectarivore species' bills.
I am also pursuing a personal research project looking at how the COVID-19 affected the usership of eBird, and whether it had a positive or negative effect based on projected growth from 2002-2019.
On the volunteering front, I participate in various counting and survey projects. I was part of a group covering the southern half of Discovery Park for the Christmas Bird Count, took part in a study for a Climate Watch, and am a volunteer for the Seattle Audubon's Bird Collision Monitoring study.
I founded Soundbirders to keep pursuing these lines of intrigue, finding more opportunities to volunteer for the sake of birds and inform my own research.