Steamboat photographer publishes 2nd book about local birds
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A hummingbird hovers by a feeder near Bob Enever’s home in Steamboat Springs.
His patio is a haven for birds, bugs and critters, filled with a variety of flowers, trees and feeders. With the sun dipping lower in the sky, hummingbirds were getting their fill for the evening. Before the tiny bird could even dip its beak in the sweet syrupy meal, another hummingbird flew toward it.
“Conflict,” Enever said. “Two females.”
A few minutes later, a hummingbird sits on the side of the feeder. She sips for a bit, then looks around before returning her attention to eating.
“When she’s feeling very secure that she’s not going to be attacked, she sits like that,” Enever said, his British accent making it seem as if the hummingbirds are stars in a David Attenborough-narrated nature documentary. “That tiny little bill is in fact an upper and a lower mandible and a tongue that comes out and goes down and gets the liquid.”
The 92-year-old doesn’t have a degree in ornithology, the study of birds, but compared to an average bird watcher, he’s an expert. All his knowledge he collected himself through conversations, reading and research. He recently self-published his second bird book, “Birds of Steamboat Springs & Northwest Colorado: Photographs of Their Lives and Migrations.”
The pages are filled with 15 years worth of photographs from his travels around the world. It’s not a guide book but rather a book about why birds do what they do.
He used his massive collection of photos and diary entries to recall exact details of his encounter with the birds.
In 2016, he published a book about a family of osprey that makes a home in Steamboat.
Before his love of birds came his introduction to photography. He started using a digital camera in 2005.
“Birds of Steamboat Springs & Northwest Colorado: Photographs their Lives and Migrations”
Buy at Off the Beaten Path in downtown Steamboat Springs or on Amazon.
“That was the first time they were anything better than an experiment,” he said.
He started photographing birds for his wife, Audrey, who was fascinated by identifying them. To aid in her passion, Enever would capture them on film.
On one of their trips to South America, the Enevers came across a black-crowned night heron in Chile. Upon researching the bird, he discovered the same species can be spotted in Northwest Colorado. Ever since, Enever has been enthralled by the distance, accuracy and instinct involved in the migrations of birds.
“Most of them fly at night. We can’t even walk at night,” Enever said. “These little tiny creatures, these little hummingbirds, they fly 1,500 miles to the mountains of Western Mexico.”
For Enever, the books aren’t about breaking ground in the birding world. They are simply a way for him to share his photographs and the knowledge he’s acquired over his years of travel. His recent book is almost like his equivalent of Instagram. It’s a compilation of his best work for others to witness.
One of the best places to find birds near Steamboat Springs, according to Enever, is the Walden Reservoir and the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge just south of Walden. The wetlands and the sage flats are home to many species of birds.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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