Bird of a Feather

My first suggestion when it comes to photographing birds, is to never forget “the commoners”. Birds we see all of the time. Not only are they as interesting as more sought after subjects, but they have stories to tell as well. Also, practice makes perfect. If you can’t photograph the one you want; photograph the one you’re with. Those lyrics (more or less)came from a song that was not about birds.

The most common duck where I live, is the Mallard. It is also one of the prettiest.

Nice light always helps and this male Mallard was bathed great light, making the decision to snap the shutter an easy one.

Practicing behavioral photography is most easy to practice by using what’s available, including the commoners.

This (different) male Mallard may not have been in love, but was surely in lust. They consummated and she thankfully did not drown.

While this Sparrow (Chipping?), is an ordinary bird, it sure was obliging as it struck a nice mirrored image for me. I did not drive all the way to this marshland for sparrows but when I create images, I do so regardless of species.

Of course when you are around water, terns always make great subjects for flight shots. Coming at ya!!!

Wading birds often strike artful poses. This is a Great Egret.

Sandhill Cranes fit “loosely” into the wading bird category. They spend more time in fields and meadows then the water. They are gregarious by nature except when courting and when new babies arrive. Finding groups in spring and fall is pretty easy.

This image of a male Green-winged Teal (duck) was made fourteens years ago. They are a favorite species on mine but it took many years to finally get a few pix.

Never give up!!

Of course, special birds like the Snowy Owl may take a while to enter your files. I am fortunate to live in a state that is visited by a lot of them during the winter months.

They tend to care very little about clumsy oft times noisy photographers. It’s almost like we are beneath being noticed by them.

They preen a lot and that makes for great images. They also commonly will look us straight in the eyes, than go back to preening like we are not worthy of noticing.

Get up early when the light is prettier, and you will be happy with what you see. Regardless of the subject, pretty light makes pretty photos.

Behavior, is a key component of photographing our feathered friends. Behavior, can also include or at least imply, action.

This female American Kestrel was having vole for lunch, and I was having fun. Of course, the vole was not.

While we are looking up a bit at this bird, my 500mm lens with a 1.4 converter, flattens out the angle somewhat.  That helps to draw future viewers into the bird’s world.

The male eastern Bluebird is a pretty little fellow. In spring, look for nesting boxes and depending on where you live, Eastern, Western or Mountain Bluebirds will often be found. 

Fluffing, preening and other such “feather care” procedures, make for beautiful images.  This little fellow as very cooperative.

Birds are interesting and often as colorful as a flower. For what it is worth, my advice is to search for the rare ones, but take whatever you might find. The worst that will happen is you will acquire some new skills via the practice you will get

Photography is “for the birds”.

Sorry about that.

Happy Trails,
Wayne

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