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Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

13 years ago

I woke up late this morning and looked out the window to see a near whiteout of blowing snow and a completely overcast sky. At first I thought this would be a total loss day as far as photographing the birds was concerned, but was I in for a surprise.

As I glanced to the bird feeder, primarily to see what the seed level was I noticed a Red Bellied Woodpecker hanging on the feeder. The camera was still sitting there on the tripod, focused in on the bird feeder so I thought what the heck, I'll grab a shot to see how the exposure will work out under these lighting and weather conditions. The first shot was a complete disaster so I set the E.V to +1 and tried again. Voila' it worked perfect.

While i continued to watch a female cardinal came down to the feeder. The impact of her landing caused the feeder to begin a slow rotation on the support cable so I could now get pictures of the birds from both sides as the feeder rotated.

As most of you probably will agree, i have hundreds of shots of the back of the woodpecker as it sits on the suet feeder, but here I had a chance to get shots of the front (breast) of the bird. In the pursuing ten minutes I managed to fire off 86 frames.

I then removed the SD card from the camera and headed to the computer to see the results. To my complete surprise, not only did I get frontal shots of the woodpecker, if you look close you can actually see a faint red coloration on the breast & belly, which accounts for the name of the bird. That was an absolute first for me.

As if that was not exciting enough, I got an inflight shot of the bird as it left the feeder.

Also notice the sparrow approaching the feeder while the woodpecker and cardinal are already on the feeder. I realize that many of you try to discourage sparrows, but once I learned there are 23 species of sparrow native to my region I set out on a project to photo document as many as possible, so I try to encourage sparrows as well.

I have found that if I keep the feeders full and sprinkle a bit of excess seed on the ground under the feeder there is plenty for all and I see very little competition between the birds. They all seem to play nice. Now I will freely admit that I am going through 20 to 30lbs of wild bird seed a week, but when you consider that I shoot an average of 500 photos a day, I find the cost of bird seed to be very cheap entertainment

PS-the white specks in the photo are not defects, that is snow falling while i was shooting.

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