” In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings…”
Growing up, I never had much interest in birds. Polar bears, wolves, alligators, and snakes were far more intriguing. My earliest memories of birds involve my grandfather, a poet and naturalist, who was a birder. He would point out (all summer long and much to my annoyance) that there is no such thing as a “seagull” when our family would spend our summer days at Jones Beach, Long Island.
Over time, as my interest in photography grew birds became the subject of my photos with increasing frequency. They were easy to find and by attempting to get different ’shots’ (flight, feeding, mating, portraits etc…) my technical and compositional skills became more developed. Aside from becoming a better photographer, the beauty in birds is their incredible diversity. The different bill shapes and sizes, eye and feather colors, wing shape, flight patterns, feeding behavior, calls and songs etc…By simply looking at their bill, you can likely figure how and where they feed.
Because birds are so commonplace, they are often under appreciated. We can see them everywhere – in the parking lots, at the beach, lakes, the park or outside an office window. Part of appreciating birds is about staying connected with the environment and my surroundings. It’s the same reason I like knowing the weather, trees, stars, and the planets in the sky. By stepping out and noting the egret flying overhead, or the osprey calling in the distance I’m reminded of the natural world still around me, despite the bleak concrete, train noises, and iphone constantly in my pocket. Whenever I hear the melodic call of the song sparrow I think of Spring, they were always the first birds to start singing.
A juvenile roseate spoonbill swings its bill through the water to catch small fish and insects
A great egret leaves the nest to find a suitable twig for his mate during breeding season
A baby green heron begs for food
A yawning burrowing owl
To celebrate Earth Day 2012, I decided to post a few animal portraits.