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Avian Encounter

An Avian Encounter


A pair of twitterpated cardinals has been zooming around the yard the past few days and this afternoon they lighted in the backyard feeder area long enough for me to capture a few frames of an interesting exchange.

Papa Cardinal flew up and down from the ground and to the feeder multiple times and on the ground, he transferred his acquired birdseed directly into the mouth of Big Momma Cardinal. Or it may have been a Big Kid Cardinal; I can't always tell the difference between older and younger birds.

The brown one on the ground hid beside and under the hose reel while Papa flitted up and down with seeds in his beak. Or he pulled his treasures from the feeder (Joe's Mix from the Wild Bird Store in Cliff Road in Eagan - a favorite amongst our population) many which dropped onto the gravel below, and he popped them into the yawning beak of Big Momma.

She hopped around inside a small space under and near the hose reel for about a half hour. The photos I snapped with my trusty old Nikon D-70 of the busy pair kept me enthralled for a good chunk of the afternoon.

I tried to capture enough images to tell the story, and while I changed back and forth between my long and wide lenses, I mostly kept it on aperture priority. They kept moving in and out of the shadows and the bright sunlight.

Avian Encounter

One of the tricks of shooting I had learned long ago while shooting football games from the sidelines in contests at the high school and NFL levels is to keep both eyes open to see what was going to come into the viewfinder. I got pretty good at this during a tour shooting jet fighters from the back of a KC-10 aerial refueling jet on combat flights at 20,000' over Iraq in 2004.

The three feeders were very busy with a wide variety of birds visiting including woodpeckers at the suet basket, a hummingbird at the red sugar water dispenser and many other feathered friends at the regular seed feeder.

Then all activity ceased suddenly and it was quiet long enough for me to write down my observations. It is probably a common occurrence but for me it was fascinating.