I never got much interested in birding earlier in life because I found it difficult to identify a bird upon recollection of a mere glimpse in the field. Now, with telephoto lenses I can record what I see and identify it later. Great fun!
Shooting birds with a camera has made me much more aware of the details of nature. While I’m looking through the lens I sometimes see and hear a bird singing. I easily come to associate the song with the bird. So now I know several birds by their song and can detect their presence long before I see them, which gives me a warning to get my camera set. This has been especially so with the Cardinals, who are so beautiful, and almost always travel in pairs, the female first in view, most often. My wife says she’s the navigator, of course ;< )
The day before yesterday, out birding, I had the awesome pleasure of watching a couple hawks work a draw. There is a place bordering the Brandywine River where two adjacent hills make a funnel down to the river. The afternoon’s blazing sun lit the open end of the funnel, and there was no foliage to hide the hawks’ prey, so they perched in the very tall Tulip Poplar trees lining the funnel walls and surveyed the easy pickings below and worked the area back and forth. They criss crossed the area from tall tree to tall tree, and I learned their spooky call as I watched the drama. One of the hawks flew overhead with something in its talons and I followed it with my camera. Moments later a small bird dropped about ten feet from me. It seemed hurt. I moved toward it, but was preoccupied with the hawk; so I took my eyes off the small bird and lost it. Was it the hawk’s intended dinner? Don’t know. Anyway, I found this experience absolutely awesome! When you see the interrelationship of creatures this way you don’t know whom to root for, and you’re absolutely enthralled with the complexity and grandeur of it all.
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