The Small Things in Life

When it comes to bird pictures, most people prefer pictures of raptors, particularly Bald Eagles, and I’ll admit I’m always trying to get a better shot of eagles or hawks than I’ve already taken. However, my real fondness is for the small birds most people ignore.

Perhaps it’s because of the challenge of getting a good shot of small birds that use their speed and elusiveness to avoid becoming a meal, while larger predators confidently sit in plain sight on top of the tallest tree around, alone at the top of the food chain.

So, though I was quite happy to get the shot of the eagle that I used yesterday, I was even happier to get this shot of a Bonaparte’s Gull, one of the smallest of the gulls that migrates through our area.

Bonaparte's Gull

I spent much longer trying to get a good shot of this bird than I spent on the eagle picture. Of course, I can always find an eagle or two to take a picture of, but I’ve only seen Bonaparte’s Gulls one other time in the three years I’ve been birding. Even though the four gulls kept a considerable distance between us, they were skittish every time I pointed a lens at them and their white feathers made it difficult to figure out the best exposure.

It’s much easier taking pictures of Song Sparrow, as evidenced by the fellow on my front porch this spring, but I was still pleased by this handsome pose,

Song Sparrow

one that looks even better when it’s blown up full screen size at full resolution rather than resized so that it doesn’t take three days to view on your computer.

I also spent quite awhile trying to get a good shot of these Golden-Crowned Sparrows who were feasting on the same trees where I took pictures of the Cedar Waxwings a week or so ago, except these guys were much shyer and kept the tree between me and themselves, which explains the mysterious, soft-fuzzy touch in the middle of the bird.

Gold-Crowned Sparrow

Of course it helps to get pictures of shy birds if you can find a major food source and simply wait awhile. Birds will stay away at first, but will continue eating if they decide you’re relatively harmless. I’d sure like to plant one of these trees in my yard if I knew what it was because it produces tons of fruit and attracts a wide variety of birds.

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