Finding Feathers

Finding Feathers

Somewhere between hip replacements, empty nesting and divorce, I was feeling a little lost in the shuffle. I always figured that having my kids grow up and needing less from me would be blissful. Don’t get me wrong there are aspects that are wonderful. It was the loss of my daily routine that I felt so many things had changed, and my life had been centered around children for so long. Gone were the days of carpools, sports, homework and monitoring curfews. I needed more than my crafting corner.

Soul searching for what gives you purpose is an interesting process. I’ve always loved photography. I’ve had a camera in hand since junior high. I was the “momtographer” that everyone asked to take family portraits. I loved it, but it was a lot of work for very little compensation. 

My parents raised me with a love of nature. My mom would always point out the birds at the feeder, animals, trees, mountains, etc. While soul searching, she suggested that I head to the bird refuge with my camera. I reluctantly agreed. Other than pictures of my dogs, wildlife was never something I’d thought possible.

I arrived with my 200mm lens and was quickly overcome by the calmness of the wetlands. The reeds swayed in the breeze and the waters lapped calmly to the shore.  Sure, there were bugs and some unpleasant smells, but I’m a mom and this was a mess I didn’t have to clean up. I quickly learned that birds were relentless and unappreciative of my endearing attention. Literally from that moment I was lost in their world of feathers and songs. I was in love with these determined, resilient, beautiful little souls. From the Birds of Prey to the tiniest Hummingbirds, I was mesmerized. I finally felt a sense of place. The refuge fed my hungry soul with the peace I was searching for. 

Fast forward several years and a 600mm lens, I am still that girl with bugs in her hair, mosquito bites, dirt on her knees, climbing through bushes to watch the birds. This is my place. The wild places. I’ve studied mannerisms, habitats, birding ethics and my experiences are even more fulfilling now. I am a guest in their home, and I let them dictate what happens every time. 

Short Eared Owl Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Utah

We never know the path we’ll end up on. It may be dirt, paved or through fields with a path we’ve created on our own, but let it lead us to a destination that provides us with moments of reflection, peace and happiness.


Finding Feathers submitted by Kristin Terwilliger

I’m Kristin: Born and raised in Utah. I’m married to my best friend, I have 8 children (some are bonus kids), one grand-daughter and 8 furry grandchildren.

I love my family, my dog, camera, anything furry or feathered, camping, fly fishing and cookies.

Favorite birds are the ones with wings!

I’m an administrative assistant for a Homecare & Hospice company.

My goal in life is to simplify and find happiness in the little things while capturing those moments with my camera.

Camera equipment- Sony A7iii and Tamron g2 150-600mm lens.

Follow Kristin on her on her Instagram account.


All images provided are copyrighted and may not be used without express permission from Kristin Terwilliger. 

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