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Featured Photographer

Shailee Shah

  • A Herring Gull preens on Appledore Island.
  • Appledore is home to the Shoals Marine Lab research station.
  • Gull intern Brendan Fogarty dodges a protective Great Black-backed Gull.
  • A Great Black-backed Gull hatchling gets its first breath of fresh air.
  • The young chicks grow incredibly fast on a diet of regurgitated fish.
  • Watching gulls being good parents was one of the summer's memorable moments.
  • Reflections at sunrise on Appledore.
  • Taking a break from gulls, the team visited a nearby tern colony for a census.
  • The census tracks a restored colony of Common (shown), Arctic, and Roseate terns.
  • A female Common Eider guides her ducklings through the water.
  • A gorgeous—and rare—female Wilson's Phalarope made an appearance on Appledore.
  • As the gull chicks grew up, Shailee started watching Spotted Sandpipers.
  • A day-old Spotted Sandpiper chick keeps a lookout.
  • A pair of aggressive Eastern Kingbirds held their own against the gulls.
  • By summer's end, Shailee was more than happy to add her pair to the venerable Shoe Tree.
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About the Photographer

My first lesson in wildlife photography came from my father when I was 10 years old. There was a gaggle of peafowl chicks running around in our backyard in India and, inspired by my family’s monthly subscription to National Geographic, I was trying to photograph them by, unwisely, running after them myself!

“Why do they keep doing that?” I asked my dad as I chased them across the yard.

“Because you’re scaring them! Look, you need to hide and be patient,” he replied, taking the camera and crouching behind a bush to demonstrate. I followed suit and spent the next hour in that bush, clicking away.

Birds had always fascinated me and I started carrying my hand-me-down Olympus C-740 UZ along everywhere from the terrace of my house, to photograph Rose-ringed Parakeets and Green Bee-eaters, to Pangong Lake at 14,270 feet in the Himalayas to capture a flock of Black-headed Gulls on impossibly blue water.

After high school I upgraded to an SLR and lugged it across two oceans to Cornell, where I currently shoot for the Cornell Daily Sun while continuing to pursue my passion for photographing birds.

This summer I interned at Shoals Marine Lab for two months, working with gulls, and had the opportunity to observe and shoot a variety of birds, from gulls to sandpipers to kingbirds, on the beautiful island of Appledore. Read the full story of that summer on the Cornell Lab’s blog.

-Shailee Shah, Cornell University '14

See more of Shailee's photography at her Flickr site
Read Shailee's blog about gull research, The Yeow Call