Watch the CBC Documentary Short that Liron made featuring Young Birders and I and how birding helps those with grief

Young Birder program graduate and professional wildlife photographer Liron Gertsman and his friend Jack Bailey asked to film a documentary short for CBC about grief and birding and the impact that birds have on people. They also wanted to discuss the BC Young Birders program I founded and the joy the kids get from birding and the joy they bring to me. 

I was honoured to be a part of this project but I admit some of the topics (the death of both of my parents) was hard to talk about. You can see I do tear up in one section. I hope that being open about the pain and my grief will help others who are grieving as well. Birds and the young birders really do help me cope with the profound and immense losses. My dad has been gone 6.5 months and my mother 21 months but I am far from over them and in fact I never will be. I am sad every day without them and just letting life grow bigger around my grief day by day.

Thank you to the Young Birders who took part in the documentary and for the kind things they said about me as well. Thank you to my friend Liron Gertsman, the producer on the film and to Jack Bailey, the director and Shiun Okada,  the director of photography, for handling this delicate topic so elegantly and for asking me to be a part of this project. Thanks to young birder program graduate and friend Josh Brown for lending his recordings of birds for the film too. Liron and his filming crew will be making 2 more documentary shorts for CBC about how birding impacts humans. I am excited to see them and I will be sure to share them when they come out in the winter.

This is now online on the CBC Youtube channel but will air on TV next week. Liron doesn't have the exact date and time yet but most likely next Friday. Young Birder Heather and I will be doing 5 radio interviews for CBC this Tuesday including Vancouver's Early Edition with Stephen Quinn. 

You can listen to Heather and I on the Early Edition HERE

You can listen to my interview with Daybreak South with Chris Walker by scrolling to 1 hour and 02 mins HERE

You can listen to my interview with Daybreak North with Carolina de Ryk by scrolling to 1 hour and 18 mins HERE

You can watch the documentary short below:


  1. This was a fantastic video, really beautifully filmed and very moving and touching. Brought tears to my eyes. I’m so happy you’re work is being showcased and you have the opportunity to speak about the pain and experience of grief.

    1. thank you so much I cried during some parts where they asked about my parents. sure miss them.

  2. Melissa this was so heart wrenching and beautiful. You inspire me with your work with youth. These young birders won't forget the lasting impact the mentorship has had on them. You are resilient fighting through intense grief and pain and making the world a better place all the while. -Sara

    1. thank you so much working with the youth has been one of the greatest joys of my life they constantly inspire me.

  3. Melissa that was a beautiful video. Kudos to Liron and Co. for making this. You certainly mentored him well. All the young birders I run into only have great things to say about you and that shows the impact and legacy you left on these kids much like the ones your wonderful parents left on you. Your parents are looking down very proud I'm sure. I also want to say thanks for always helping out an old fart like me. You are always so generous and kind with your time and never condescending

    1. thank you so much and yes Liron is so talented. I've known him since he was 12 and now is a most amazing young man who has done so much great things and a professional photographer and biologist. he will continue to do great things. thank you for your kindness means a lot.

  4. I really enjoyed this documentary. It made me a shed a tear. I'm sorry for your loss but your work with kids is truly inspiring. hope you know you make the world a better place


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