It's actually the same here - this was a captive one, as we don't have any living in the wild over here. According to wikipedia, however, there are populations of these in England, Wales and southern Scotland. Apart form that, they're native to central China, originally.
Oh, didn't know that! ^.^ The prettiest birds here that I've seen (in my opinion) would be American Kestrels or Snowy Owls. Unfortunately Snowy Owls only come here during mid-winter, and American Kestrels (also refferred to as Sparrow Hawks) ae pretty uncommon in my area.
Wow, those are fantastic and beautiful birds of prey! I would love to see a Snowy Owl, for one. There are Eurasian Eagle Owls in these parts, though I have so far only seen traces left behind by them. As for the Sparrow Hawk, there's the Eurasian variant of it, but I don't recall ever seeing one myself. Even though their numbers have somewhat increased again (after falling drastically due to the use of the pesticide DDT), they still have a somewhat hard time since most of their avian prey has adapted to urban areas.
The closest I ever got to a wild bird of prey was an encounter with a White-tailed Eagle, as seen here: Majestic I
The Snowy Owls were only in my area last winter, hopefully I can see them again and get a picture this winter! Until then, I'll settle with the variety of small birds around my area. It's good that those birds are coming back, they're most likely good to have around, and hopefully they can adapt as good as they're prey. That eagle is beautiful! I don't have a very good camera (yet) so I can't very well get a bird in flight without it being overly blurry.
Well, then I'll keep my fingers crossed for you so you can get a good shot of a Snowy Owl this winter
Unfortunately, at the moment it doesn't look like the birds of prey are able to adapt to the increasing urbanization and loss of suitable habitats. However, there are various projects dedicated to helping them, i.e. by putting up tall trunks for them to build their nests on. This link (Rethmoorsee) for example shows a flooded gravel pit that used to be a bathing lake. Later on the construction of a new railway track involved the removal of such trunks, so the federal railway erected several more around this location, which had been converted to a natural reserve a while earlier. While I didn't see one from close up when I was there, I do know that several breeding pairs of white-tailed eagles have their aeries there, so it's safe to say the project is a success!
Regarding cameras, I know what you mean! I used to have an older compact camera (a Kodak Z650 Easyshare), and the autofocus was painfully slow. In order to take pictures of moving animals, especially birds, a good DSLR with a fast lens is a must. Since my camera is pretty much at the low end of the spectrum and my lens not that fast, the only way I could make that shot was because the eagle was soaring rather slowly over our heads. Quite a bit of luck was involved, since it was unusual to see an eagle approach a field full of people (where a peddler's market was being held)!
Thanks! ^.^ It's great that people are helping the white tailed eagles, after all it was people who nearly wiped them out, so it's only right to help them! The reason, or rather, reasons, that I don't have a better camera is because I don't have the money for it (and my parents won't buy me one, until I finish high school >.<) and I still need to learn tons about photography and cameras. Hopefully the photography class I'm taking will help me! :3
Yup, it is. Took a while to realize how much of an impact the usage of DDT had on wildlife - especially birds - because it moved "up the food chain" so to speak (insects > small song birds > birds of prey), but at least something was done about it before it was too late. Still, even with eagles becoming more common again encountering one in the wild is something that feels very special.
That's sad, but I understand. I couldn't really afford one for a long time myself (and I wasn't sure if it was even worth it), and when I finally did buy a DSLR it was after I had lost my job (but saved up a bit of money). Had I known that I would be unemployed for a long time anyway, and how much photography would mean to me just one or two years down the road, I would have blown all my money on photography gear back then! However, right now I'm pretty much broke, so I have to make do with what I have again
You're taking a photography class? That's fantastic! I never got around to taking any classes or courses (self-taught photographer here!), but I guess it does make a huge difference in learning the basics! If you don't mind reading, by the way, I *highly* recommend the book Stunning Digital Photography by Tony Northrup. It's the #1 best-selling photography book worldwide, but more importantly, it is enjoyable to read, and there are tons of tutorial videos on youtube meant as supplement to the book (and new videos being added every few days). The paperback (+eBook) is available for 19.99USD, just buying the eBook is half of that. Easily the best money I spent on photography so far! If you're interested: sdpcommunity.com/index.php?/pa…
I was at a Disney park called animal kingdom and they had these running around in a sanctuary. It has to be one one the most colorful birds i have ever seen. Thank you for sharing your great photography.
Yes, definitely one of the most colorful birds I know as well. The females of this species look great as well with their stripes, but their lack of color makes them appear as different as you would expect from an entirely different species. It's fascinating how the visible difference between bird genders can range from drastic to non-existant.
And I agree, nature never ceases to amaze me. Plus, we don't even need to look for rare or exotic beings in faraway regions to see beautiful or otherwise fascinating plants or animals... All too easily we overlook the everyday wonders around us.
It's a caged bird, unfortunately. The biggest issues were getting close enough to the grid of the aviary (so that it wouldn't show up in the photo), getting the head of the pheasant in focus and finding the right combination of shutter speed, ISO and exposure. As you can see, I had to resort to 1/25th at ISO 800 to get it properly exposed; this would've been absolutely impossible at 300mm without image stabilization (called "Vibration Compensation" in that lens). I'm just glad the bird decided to pose still for just long enough to get this done without having him appear as a rainbow of blurriness