Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

April 10, 2009

Hungry Young Thrasher

Filed under: backyard, behavior, Birds, composition, digital benefits, light, technique — richditch @ 7:25 pm
Curve-billed Thrasher - young bird begging for food

Curve-billed Thrasher - young bird begging for food

Spring comes early in the desert her in Phoenix, and we’re already seeing newly fledged birds in our back yard. The neighborhood Curve-billed Thrashers are such regulars that they have no reservations of bringing their young with them, like this young bird still showing the pale gape. It was quite a treat to sit out on the patio yesterday and watch them, with just the 300/2.8 AF-S lens on my Nikon D200. I set it to ISO 400 and didn’t bother with the tripod for a change to give me more flexibility to “bend” around the potted plants that are gradually taking over all the space on the patio.

Curve-billed Thrasher - young bird begging for food

Curve-billed Thrasher - young bird begging for food

Young birds engage in a universal begging routine: they lower their head, open wide, and flutter their wings. This is irresistible to the adults who scramble to find food and stuff it into the gaping beaks of the babies.

Curve-billed Thrasher - young bird begging for food

Curve-billed Thrasher - young bird begging for food

The light is always an issue in the back yard, and with the patio facing to the NNW I’m always fighting some nasty backlight. Since I hate using the flash I decided to work with the natural light and do the best I could with it. I’d likely not get anything if I was still shooting film, but working with digital, shooting in raw format, and making adjustments to the histogram in raw conversion with Adobe Camera Raw (the front end to Photoshop) lets me deal better with these conditions.

Today the adults and young were at it again, but I chose to just watch them through the window and not pressure them as the adult poked around in the vegetation with he young bird crowding up on the side waiting for the next insect that the adult discovered.

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2 Comments »

  1. I LOVE this behavior and can watch baby birds for hours! We have several visiting our backyard right now and it’s so entertaining to watch them flitter from branch to branch and BEG!! Thanks for the great shots, as always, Rich!

    Comment by Robin McEntire — April 14, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  2. I am interested in basing a tattoo design off of the first young bird picture on this page. How can I get a digital file of the picture to use in photoshop for my design?

    Comment by Joy Ortiz — March 3, 2010 @ 6:10 pm


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