“It’s not just what they do for the environment–it’ what they do for our souls” That quote is from the January 2018 issue of National Geographic Magazine. (highly recommended!) I’m bouncing off that amazing set of articles in that issue to bring it to a more personal side. First of all, this issue has some amazing information and facts that I’ll leave to them. One of the few magazines I subscribe to and trust on all things environmental and nature related. I also get inspired by the amazing photography
I’ve always been fascinated by birds of all kinds, from little chickadees to birds of prey. I’ve set up an outdoor window shelf, where I put peanuts in the shell. The two species of Jays we have here, Scrub and Stellar, love to grab them, and take them somewhere and bury them. It’s amazing to watch them decide which one to take, an actually shake them to see if there are seed/nuts in the shell. They come rain or shine, The Scrub Jays, the one without the Mohawk hair, are the most aggressive. They have little fear it seems, and will actually grab a peanut out of my hand consistently. I’ve been doing this a number of years, putting peanuts on the outdoor shelf, and I see it passed on to the next generations. A few time an older Scrub and a young wone will come in at the same time. Now I don’t pretend to be a bird expert, or know what’s going on, but they are so much fun to watch. It’s like having pets without the trouble of ownership.
My backyard, and probably yours, is a great place to start watching and photographing birds. I keep a set of binoculars and a camera by the window, as you never know what will show up. I am also fascinated by the common crow. I think they actually have a sense of humor, some of the things they do to each other. I saw one a while back and use a stick in its mouth and was poking another one in the rear and they are running around the yard. Now the bird being poked could have flown away, but they kept running around the yard. They make great subjects to photograph and the more I watch the more I see that birds have their own personality. I even captured some hawks in my backyard. One was just sitting on the fence, the other, young one was on a stump in my neighbor’s yard.
But I don’t always stay in my backyard for finding birds, go out to their environment on the shore, the lakes, rivers, and wetlands around the PNW. One of the most common on the coast is, of course, the Seagull. Now here is a bird that has a group mentality, monogamous and rarely separate. They group together against predators. Many time on the coast a bird of prey, if an Eagle, Osprey, Hawk, Falcon or other bird of prey we have in the area, come by, they group together in the sky screaming and yelling trying to scare them away. They will chase them out of the area, not always successful. This especially happens when there are offspring Seagulls in the group.
The birds of prey, when you see them in person, it is simply incredible. Seeing an Eagle in the wild and not at a zoo or aviary is breathtaking I’ve been lucky to be able to capture some birds of prey around the area. There were a few Eagles on the beach a while back, and they let me get close enough to get a decent shot.
Another place to actually get good shots of birds in a controlled environment is your local aquarium. Most aquariums have aviaries where you can get close up to birds, and get some amazing shots, not encumbered with cages and fences. One thing though, most aquariums don’t allow tripods for the safety of all guests. The local aquarium here on the coast of Oregon, The Oregon Coast Aquarium Has a great aviary of shorebirds and you can get arm’s length some amazing birds and grab some up close and personal shots. When traveling in PNW and pretty much anywhere, you should always be looking up. You will find some giant Eagle and other birds of prey nests. I’ve included a few bird images I have created. Of course, all these images are available not only as wall displays but produced on other products as well. If you like look at birds I have a lot more online in my Birds Gallery, HERE. Please comment on the spaces below and let me know what you think 🙂