[Tweeters] Frustrating Golden Crowned Kinglets

notcalm at comcast.net notcalm at comcast.net
Fri Nov 26 18:43:05 PST 2010

Hello Blair,

I do a lot of video photography. I find that small birds are the most difficult to photograph. Some people have used callers to bring the birds close, sometimes allowing a close pause of an individual, and they have found this to be effective. It is a "Sora" subject for others.

Sometimes, I find the following effective:
Watch the general pattern of movement of the flock, including individuals, if possible.
Move beyond their position, in the expected path of movement, prefocus your camera on a shrub of approximately the same height as the pattern you have observed. Don't look directly at the birds as they approach and remain as still as possible. Most importantly, try for shots that are less than frame filling. More distance or wider angle will dramatically improve your chances of a great shot. Because the bird will often be in focus and in the image field, without chasing the erratic movement patterns. Repeat this process and you will eventually get a nice shot.

Using this method appears to be minimally intrusive to the birds. If they are uncomfortable with your presence, they are unlikely to move toward you. If you are patient and spend the necessary time, flocks will ignore you and move closer or at times appear curious and may move in,very close.

Lastly, if I view a video"capture" and the bird does not or very infrequently glances at me, I am happy with the experience.
My goal is to be at ease, accepted or functionally invisible to the birds being filmed. I am trying to study the behavior of the species and enjoy the beauty of each species.

Hope that helps.

Best regards,
Dan Reiff

----- Original Message -----
From: "Blair Bernson" <blair at washingtonadvisorygroup.com>
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2010 3:43:26 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Frustrating Golden Crowned Kinglets

Spent a little time this morning at the Fill.
Ponds devoid of birds as there is still a lot of
ice. Lots of birds in the Lake but too far out
and/or poor lighting so could not distinguish
beyond mallards, buffleheads, gadwall and widgeons
and a couple of mergansers. The fun, and
frustration, was with foraging flocks of little
birds along the tiny creek separating the Urban
Hort "backyard" and the fill itself. Lots of
bushtits, black capped chickadees and both Lincoln
and Song sparrows and also quite a few wrens
including both Bewicks and Pacific (winter) which
made for a three wren day with a marsh wren found
near one of the ponds. Also at least two warblers
- a yellowthroat and a Townsend's. But the
highlight for me was the most golden crowned
kinglets I have ever seen in one place. There
were at least 8 and possibly twice that many
moving through the brush. For about 5 minutes the
sun broke through and provided brilliant views of
these very pretty (and very small) little birds
including spectacular views of their golden crowns
scintillating in the sun. But as hard as I tried
and it was VERY hard I could not get a single
picture as these hyperactive foragers bounced from
perch to perch to my left and right and up and
down. Getting a photo of this bird was a specific
goal of the weekend so I am feeling pretty
frustrated. Will be back tomorrow to try again.
BTW there also was a red tailed hawk, a merlin and
a pair of adult bald eagles.

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