Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

Meet Fountain Nature Photographer and "Bird Whisperer" Doug Harling


September 27, 2017

Local nature photographer Doug Harling

Editor's Note: It is a real pleasure for us to introduce you to Fountain resident Douglas Harling this week. He is not only a gifted nature photographer, as you will see in the photos we are sharing with you today and in future issues; he also has become quite the "Bird Whisperer." We are honored to also announce he will be sharing Backyard Birding tips through a new feature, beginning in this issue. Our thanks to Doug for being willing to share his knowledge and his beautiful photos with the local community.

To help introduce him to our readers, we invited him to share some information about himself...

Born in Orange, California in 1959, I was raised in Southern California and lived there until 1977. My parents bought a small business in Colorado and moved our family here when I was 17 years old.

I lived in the Northwest part of Colorado for about 13 years and I've been in the Colorado Springs area since 1990. My wife and I moved to Fountain in 2005 and we've been here ever since. We love the area.

I am a retired heavy equipment operator and my wife, Judy, is currently a nurse at Memorial Hospital. We have been raising two of our grandsons (Garin, 12 and Douglas, 10) for going on eight years now.

When we realized we would be keeping the boys with us, we decided to do something to make the boys feel like they belong. Five years ago, we turned our backyard into a wildlife habitat to give the boys something to do. They take care of feeding all the birds.

This started bringing all kinds of cool birds to the yard, and the boys and I would often be out taking pictures of them with my cell phone. About three years ago, my wife bought me a camera to get better pictures of our backyard birds. I became hooked immediately. It wasn't long before I was out looking for more birds. Fountain Creek Regional Park's Nature Trails became a hotspot for me. The boys are in martial arts full time so when they are in class, I'm at the nature center.

Doug Harling

A Blue Heron fishing at the Fountain Creek Nature Center in Fountain.

Three years into photography now, it has become the biggest passion of my life. Two and a half years ago, I really started getting into photographing raptors and it wasn't long before that was narrowed down to the owls. I currently shoot a Canon 70D with a 150-600mm lens. I am completely self-taught with the birds and the photography. I love sharing my photos on my Facebook page (Doug Harling) and my habitat photos are on a Facebook page called My Colorado Wildlife Habitat.

I truly love the diversity of wildlife at Fountain Creek Nature Center and the surrounding trails. You never know what you will see for sure. I've followed hawks and owls nesting from hatch to young fledglings and then have watched them hunt on their own. I have watched owls go from being born there to starting their own families.

My dream is to one day (after my wife retires) travel and sell my photos. It is crazy what can happen when you find your true passion.

See related story and photos under Outdoors Section and his first Backyard Birding column which focuses on attracting Blue Jays to your yard.


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