Strategies for Birds

Whenever I’m out in the field taking photographs of birds, I find myself relying on my musical abilities. It’s very seldom that I don’t hear a bird long before I see it.

There are certain bird calls that I’m quite used to hearing – the American Robin, Song Sparrow, Dark-Eyed Junco, Varied Thrush etc. But, every now and then something new moves in and I know it immediately because I don’t recognize the call musically.

Yesterday I heard such a call. And as it happens very often, the birds are some distance away and quite small. What I usually do after I hear a call is scan the area with a pair of binoculars trying to get a glimpse of what critter is making that sound. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to spot him, and this is where having a good reference for bird identification comes in handy. A good book, a laptop, or an Iphone is an essential aid.

Once identified, you may be able to have better understanding of the habits of the bird and where you’ll be likely to see him again.

I was very fortunate to be able to grab several frames of an Alder Flycatcher yesterday. The procedure was the same. I heard him. I spotted him at a distance. I referenced him. Then I waited and anticipated where he may show up again. Patience is the name of the game. And having luck and light is ok too.

Alder Flycatcher

ISO 400, 500mm, 1.4x TC, f6.3, 1/1250s, -1/3ev

Happy Shooting,

Doug

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