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So far Donald Waite has created 37 blog entries.

Bald Eagle Photographer Eric Rossicci

Possibly North America’s most photographed bird, the Bald Eagle is the United States of America’s national emblem. Here are a couple of wildlife  photographer Eric Rossicci’s trademark photos of this majestic bird in full flight. Eric does most of his eagle and owl photography at Boundary Bay. During the month of February hundreds of these beautiful birds gather in Delta, British Columbia. He uses the Canon 1 D X Mark 11 EOS DSLR camera body (20.2 MG) with the Canon 500 lens with the 1.4 teleconverter (to take it up to 700 mm). The camera focuses instantly and fires an incredible 14 frames per second at a shutter speed of 1/8,000 second. That’s a ridiculous number of frames per second with very quick focusing and unparalleled tracking capabilities.To date Eric has over 21,000 Bald Eagle images on file.

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Eric’s full frame 20.2  megapixel capture of a majestic maturing adult Bald Eagle before cropping.

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A 50 % crop of the majestic maturing adult Bald Eagle above from a 20.2 megapixel file could easily provide enough data for a 4′ x 5′ or 4′ x 6′ same size print as the bird. This razor-sharp photo shows the curl on the forward wingtip from the forceful downward flap of the wings.

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Another of Eric’s  full frame captures before cropping.

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The above photo with 50 % cropping.

Eric has a few tips: First know your subjects, in this case the behavior of the Bald Eagle. By studying their body language, he can anticipate their reactions. Then all he has to do is fire off his camera, mounted on a tripod, remotely as soon as there is some action. When an eagle coils down slightly and starts opening its wings, it’s time to push the trigger. Eric spends an average of 3 to 4 hours daily honing his skills and shoots rain or shine. He has another secret: in order to keep his reflexes sharp, he practices with a readily available program on the Internet called ‘Test your reflexes’.

https://www.justpark.com/creative/reaction-time-test/

This type of photography is simple: practice, practice, practice!

Below iOS Eric’s link to Flickr account.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/101237979@N03/

Below is a link to some of Eric’s books:

http://www.blurb.ca/search/site_search?search=Eric+rossicci&filter=bookstore

Bald Eagle Photographer Eric Rossicci2017-02-09T03:00:14-08:00

Wildlife Photographer Bjorn Olesen

This is the first world-renowned wildlife (bird) photographer to agree to appear on my blog after a short exchange of messages. His web site is:

www.bjornolesen.com

Bjorn responded immediately saying that in Singapore they used these simple rules:

https://www.nss.org.sg/documents/NSSEthics.pdf

He also said that he did not agree to the use of artificial lights at nests.

Below is the cover to one of his books.

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‘A Visual Celebration of Borneo’s Wildlife’

The captions in the four photographs below are from the book ‘A Visual Celebration of Borneo’s Wildlife’ by Bjorn and his wife Fanny Lai.

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The Red-breasted Parakeet is restricted to southern Kalimantan in Borneo and can be seen gathering in large flocks at their roosts. Ornithologists believe that these populations of Red-breasted Parakeet were isolated in dryer southeast Borneo after sea levels rose cutting Borneo from Java.

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Like the frogmouths, the insectivorous Large-tailed Nightjar also has a wide mouth fringed with rictal bristles and is camouflaged for roosting and nesting on the ground. The nest is normally a hollow scrape in the leaf-litter. Here is a superbly camouflaged adult Large-tailed Nightjar and two chicks.

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A female Olive-backed Sunbird feeding a young chick. The overhanging porch at the entrance is typical of the sunbird nests. The Olive-backed Sunbird is well-adapted to human modified landscapes and is often found in gardens and parks. It feeds mainly on nectar which it extracts from flower S with its long-curved bill. Both the male and female share the duties of incubation and feeding the young.

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The Collared Aracara is a toucan, here seen leaving the nest cavity. Small flocks, usually consisting of 6-15 birds, move through the forest with a rapid direct flight. This species is primarily an arboreal fruit eater, but will also take insects, lizards, eggs, and other small prey. To see this colourful bird so close up is really a treat. Here is one of my favorite toucan images taken at 8,000 ISO in Costa Rica.

Bjorn current camera bodies are the Nikon D5  and the Nikon D500 mainly using the Nikon 600 mm VR lens, sometimes with the 1.4 teleconverter.

 

 

Wildlife Photographer Bjorn Olesen2017-02-07T02:40:03-08:00

Bird Photographers of the World

It never occurred to me when I founded this web site 20+ years ago that I’ve ever be trying to encourage bird photographers from around the world to enter into positive and informative dialogue and submit photographs of birds taken at the nest. I wonder how many photographs of different species of birds at the nest will eventually appear on this web site.

According to the ‘National Geographic Birds of the World’ there are 249 families and 10,425 bird species world-wide. We have 80 bird families and 760 bird species that breed in North America.

With the more advanced cameras and web cams there are going to be more and more well intentioned amateur photographers taking videos and stills of the life cycles of birds. This is a good thing but it has to be done by people with an understanding of their subjects. The below video is disturbing in that the photographer cut away the upper story of the shrubbery and thus exposed the nestlings to the sun (see day 9).

Bird Photographers of the World2017-02-04T20:13:34-08:00

Challenges of Nest Photography

Jeffrey J. Jackson and I recently had drinks and lunch with retired biologist Richard R. Howie in Kamloops and the three of us talked about the pros and cons of nest photography. We discussed the concern among environmentalists and wildlife management agencies that the looking for nests and improper photography techniques could cause stress or disturb the birds at their nests or even result in predation and loss of the brood. Rick mentioned that there had been conflict between bird watchers and photographers for a variety of reasons which may have included nest photography. He also stressed that management authorities will always be vigilant about the contravention of the laws and that photographers could be charged if they were found to be in contravention of various statutes. I have to point out here that charges in Canada are criminal and come with maximum fines of $250,000 and up to five years jail time. Over the next few weeks the Rick sent me links to several sites that referenced bird photography ethics.

I was really perturbed when I read about the use of mist nets to capture birds for banding. Having photographed small birds for several years, I am well aware just how fast they fly. One ornithologist talked about the bruising on the bodies of birds caught in mist nets. He knew what he was talking about because he literally skinned thousands of birds throughout his career. Here’s the link to the entire article:

One section of the Audubon web site was about the photography of owls. Here’s some quotes, “Unfortunately, there’s little scientific research on the topic, but we do know a little about how bird vision works. The eyes of owls and humans respond to light in the same way, says Ellis Lowe, a professor of physiology at Cornel University of Veterinary Medicine. When the eye is exposed to bright light – like a flash firing in the dark – photoreceptors cells can become saturated. This causes brief “functional blindness”, a glowing afterimage that affects the ability to see and recognize objects. It can take anywhere from five to 30 seconds to readjust.”

The article continued, “Some experts, such as Denver Holt, director of the Montana-based Owl Research Institute, argue that the educational value of these images outweigh the potential risk – if the images are used for greater public awareness and conservation, for example, and the photographer works in tandem with researchers who study and understand the particular species. He allows limited use of photography when his team bands owls at night.”

Here’s the link to the entire article:

http://www.audubon.org/news/is-flash-photography-safe-owls

From past experiences, I would never ever attempt to photograph birds at night.

I was pleased to see that the 2016 Audubon contest winner of $5,000 U.S. was a picture of a pair of Prothonotary Warblers at their nest cavity. The photograph was taken with multiple flash.

http://www.audubon.org/get-outside/2017-audubon-photography-contest-prizes

Personally, I feel that nest bird photography can greatly contribute to man’s understanding of our feathered friends.

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A Loggerhead Shrike has a noon-day siesta with its almost ready-to-fledge young.

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A male Mountain Bluebird tends to his almost ready-to-fledge young residing in the abandoned nest of a pair of American Robins. Never before documented by photography, Damon S. Calderwood wrote an article for ‘Living Bird’, one of the most prestigious bird magazines in North America.

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A Pacific Wren (previously the Winter Wren) with food  flies to its nest featuring its mate and at least three babies. This nest was located on a park trail 4-feet off the ground.

For several years I’ve dreamed of a special Canadian Federal (or in the US National) permit for bird photographers to be allowed to set up on nests following a 40-hour course given by a professional bird photographer and an experienced biologist. Below would be the requirements.

Application for a Federal (National) Permit to Photograph Birds at the Nest

1. – I hereby apply for a permit authorizing me to photograph migratory birds at nests.

2. – I acknowledge that I have successfully completed a 40-hour course in ‘Bird Photography at Nests’ that was taught by qualified wildlife photographers and biologists.

3. – I agree that if a permit is issued to me that I will provide my notes about any unusual observations and six copyrighted images at 8″ x 12″ at 100 dpi to Environment Canada, Wildlife Enforcement Section by year’s end.

4. – I agree that if a Species at Risk bird is encountered to immediately contact the nearest Canadian Wildlife Service for guidance prior to any photography.

5. – I am aware that the permit does not allow me to photograph migratory birds at nests in any Federal or Provincial Parks, Federal or Provincial Game Preserves or Bird Sanctuaries without the authority of Environment Canada, Wildlife Enforcement Section nor does it allow me to photograph in any public park within the limits of any city, village or hamlet without permission.

6. – I am aware that this permit does not allow me to trespass on privately owned property without the permission of the property owner.

Challenges of Nest Photography2017-01-14T19:47:30-08:00