The Wee Ones

Little Birds

Like any wildlife photographer I try to get close-up images of small birds, and then crop if necessary.  Making shots of small birds with detail always makes us feel successful.  Still there are times when it is nice to let “little birds be little”.  After all it is who they are.

Also note,  in this shot of a “little brown bird?”, the sunrise hour adds a large dose of warmth to the image.

Sunrise Serenade You can also see those warm colors on this Song Sparrow, who is doing what a Song Sparrow does best….singing a song.

A picture of a different Song Sparrow made in late morning shows what many would call the true colors of this species.  Most of you know my feelings.  Whatever colors and tones the natural light decides to paint a subject, are in fact the true colors and tones of that subject.  At least for a little while.

I live in a part of North America where only one species of Hummingbird, the Ruby-throated, exists.  There are occasionally other hummers who visit, but they are not regular summer inhabitants.  This Rufous Hummer was photographed in a mid-elevation portion of the mountains in Colorado.  It was actually a cloudy and rainy day, but you take what your mom (Ma Nature) gives you.  In fact there were many hummers grounded at this location as high winds and lightning strikes were occurring everywhere.

Caught at the right time of year, the male American Goldfinch is one of nature’s most spectacular creatures.  When you photograph them in late fall they can be a little scruffy.  Of course to be honest, this could be a female or even a baby from a few months earlier.  One thing is for sure, if you can find plants with seeds, you can usually get a close-up of a Goldfinch.

The one thing I regret is that I never set aside three or four days a year (spring) to focus on small birds and nothing else.  I have made pictures of a lot of species of the little ones over the years but I know some birder turned photographers who get more pictures of more types of little birds in four days. than I have in thirty-five years.  Warblers are the most sought after and in all of these years I have only photographed eight kinds of warblers.  I caught this Pine Warbler on a September morning a few years ago.

There are a lot of small birds who make use of manmade bird feeders and nesting boxes.  It often seems (around here) that all bluebird boxes are occupied by Tree Swallows.  While Tree Swallows are also great birds it is always nice to find a BB box with bluebirds.  There are two such boxes that have been pretty reliable for that in this area.  This male Eastern Bluebird is standing guard in an effort to keep Tree Swallows from stealing his summer home.

Barn Swallows are one of my favorite little birds.  They love to nest in human built structures such as picnic shelters, under bridges and of course barns.   That means they get very used to people and close shots of nesting behavior are possible without disturbing your subjects.  Such is the case in the next photo.

Our parting shot is of another Barn Swallow.  This immature bird is peering through the opening on the side of a fishing bridge.  I turned to look back and spotted my little friend just in time to set down my tripod and make two shots before he flew away.  I said thank you and continued on my journey.

A special thanks to all of the Wee Ones that have passed through my life.

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