Saturday, 22 September 2012

The fine art of photographing chickadees

It's important to have goals. Managing bronchitis, I have been sitting in the sun on the warm front deck. I filled the bird feeder and needed to rest.

 I challenged myself to trying to photograph a chickadee on the fly. It was after I managed this photo (left) of a pair at the feeder.

The woodpecker is hiding from the blue jay!
Blue Jay afraid to come near,
woodpecker cleaned up!
The birds don't play well with others. Usually, the woodpeckers dominate, surprisingly giving a good squaaack to blue jays who take off. Chickadees are respectful of their space! When student teaching at McSkimming Science School, we banded birds and I came across a Blue Jay eating a chickadee. Great natural science memories!

Meanwhile, the chickadees wait their turn in the Catulpa tree.
With me sitting there, the jays were shy; nuthatches and chickadees were cleaning up. High five for the little guys.

It wouldn't come near, eyeing me carefully!
Checking for incoming jays!
It grabbed a sunflower seed and took off
Seed chosen - good to go
Now, I have photographer friends who are able to capture lightning. Me, I have trouble snapping quickly enough to get a bird in flight. But sit, and plan, and hope for luck, I did. (Luck = preparation meets opportunity!)

Some photographers plant food, e.g., leaving meat for owls in the wild, sitting waiting for them to come by. These are often award-winning photos. I figure sitting by the feeder I'm doing the same thing!

You've seen chickadee flight: ´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸·´¯`·.¸ They are tricky! Here are my first photos of the chickadee. They light on a branch, then take a knee-bend, whack their tail up behind them, and jump kamikaze into the breach. I can't use manual focus, as they are too fast. I tried using that - focusing where I though it would be when I managed to make brain click into gear and snap the photo. Fail.
I kept trying it. I loved how they folded up wings, tucked in feet, then out came the wings, a couple of flaps, and they glide.
I finally had a set of three shots I was happy checks its blind spots for predators - blue jays; leans over, dips its head, bends its knees, then flips the tail up; flings itself into the breach - and launches like a little Olympic athlete!

Camera Crittere Meme #233


eileeninmd said...

Cute captures of the chickadee in flight. They are one of my favorite birds, but I do love them all. Great post and photos. Have a wonderful weekend, hope you feel better soon.

Pat said...

Great series. I love your descriptions of a chickadee's flight. They are charming little birds.

Anonymous said...

What marvellous shots!

TexWisGirl said...

very cute dives.

SandyCarlson said...

I totally respect these shots. They are not easy to get, and they require love and commitment. Thank you for taking me to a visual place I can't get to by myself.

Farida said...

Thank you for visiting my blog.. it is indeed a pleasant surprise to see your comment there :)

I hope you get well soon. You are also blessed to be surrounded with these bird species... I live in an urban jungle. It would be lucky for us to have a glimpse of any bird. Enjoy your Sunday :)

Pia said...

You got nice shots from your garden visitors!
Hope your bronchitis gets better soon!