Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bird-Brained

An early morning photo shoot of local osprey was ruined by forgetting to reset my camera settings. The images were all three photo compilations due to my camera being set to take multiple exposures.
I had an interesting morning recently, in which I discovered that bird-brained can have two quite different meanings. In my meandering way, I will tell you a bit about both my experiences.

Every morning, without fail, I am awakened by two impatient dogs who want to get started with their day. I cant be irritated with them, even if they decide its time to get going while I am still in a sound slumber, because they are just so deliriously happy that it tends to rub off on me. Okay, its time to get up and start the day. This involves letting them out, letting them in, feeding them, getting the coffee ready, feeding the cat and cleaning her box, getting the paper, and on it goes. When I finally get to relax with my coffee, I usually take a look at our backyard birds.


Moving from the country into town was a bit of a bird watching disappointment at first. We have fewer song birds, and have missed some of our common visitors that we enjoyed in the country. We see some finches and nuthatches, and have only seen a grosbeak once in almost two years. Red tailed hawks are a thing of the past for us. But we have at least one pair of ospreys that live close by, and we have lots and lots of crows.

There are many people around who are not happy about the crow population, and admittedly they do make an absolute mess of our yards. I can sit in my office and watch them tear apart the sod looking for cinch bugs. Our front "lawn" is looking like a disaster and has me considering garden expansions to remove some of the grass. This will be of no surprise to my husband, the only new thing about that is the excuse for the ever expanding flower garden.

But I find the crows to be quite entertaining, and have enjoyed watching their antics. They swoop down over the backyard to tease the dogs. For some reason, our dogs ignore all our birds at the feeder but they absolutely detest the crows. The crows caw and communicate to each other in ways I havent begun to understand. 
A series of photos taken with a camera phone through the kitchen window shows a crow carrying and hiding pieces of bread.
This morning, I stood in the kitchen drinking my coffee and watched a crow in the vacant lot beside us. He had a full piece of bread on the ground in front of him, and picked off a piece to eat. He tore a second piece off and carried it about ten feet away, placed it on the ground, and used his beak to cover the bread with dirt. He went back to the bread, tore off a piece and ate it. Then he selected another morsel, and went about ten feet in another direction, and went through the same process to bury the bread. This carried on, with him burying about five pieces of bread in different nearby locations, until the slice of bread had disappeared. The crow jumped on a rock, and seemed to look right at me through my kitchen window before he took flight. I found this amazing to watch, and had no idea that crows hide their food like this. The popular expression "bird brained" shouldnt be used about crows.
After burying several pieces of bread, the crow jumped on a rock and seemed to look right at me through my kitchen window before he took flight. (shot with a camera phone through the window)
Looking out the window down the road, I saw fog over the river so decided to make it a photography morning, something I havent done in ever so long. I wrote a note for my sleeping husband, said good bye the dogs, and jumped in the car with all my gear. By the time I got to the river, my thoughts of capturing a fog filled landscape disappeared with the lifting of the fog. I turned around and headed to the local osprey nest, and arrived to see the osprey fly away. Momentarily defeated, I headed home, but spied a large bird on a hydro pole so pulled into a vacant lot. When I looked through my zoom lens, what I thought was a crow turned out to be an osprey, to my happy surprise. I spent quite a while taking photographs and was overjoyed to capture some in flight photos of two ospreys together.

Happy with my successful morning, I drove home anxious to take a look at my photos and thinking about my amazing luck. I popped my memory card into my computer and opened up the file. Dumbfounded, I looked at the screen to see a lot fewer images than I thought, all of them a blurred mess. It didnt take long to figure out that I had left my camera set for multiple exposures after a previous photo shoot, and all my osprey shots images were a compilation of three photos. You would think that I would have learned the basics by now, but it seems I needed a reminder that you should always reset your camera settings once youre done shooting. Lesson re-learned and brain hopefully re-trained.

It seems that the neighbourhood is full of bird-brains. And not all of them have feathers and wings.

The crows, and the osprey, will be something for me to focus on again another day. And the lesson will likely be learned another time as well.

published in the South Shore Breaker - May 10, 2017

1 comment:

Word Weaver Art said...

I know the "triple picture" isn't what you planned, but it's kind of cool.
I've got 5683 days down... and 13 to go... I can't quite imagine what not being a teacher any more will be like, but I hope it involves occasionally spending a morning watching a crow's antics!