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PIC OF THE WEEK: 04/21/08 • PREVIOUS WEEKNEXT WEEKALL 2008 PICS

Bird Pic Of The Week

Pileated Woodpeckers

(Dryocopus pileatus)

Where: Chesterfield County, VA • Dutch Gap Conservation Area

Notes: As the halfway time approached for my walk that morning, I decided to explore one final stretch of a side-path, before I began the return hike of about three miles back to my vehicle. Just past this junction, I heard several of the short, loud "kuk-kuk-kuk" calls that are distinct to this species coming from the woods along the river's edge. Knowing how elusive and skittish these magnificent crow sized birds are, I continued on. Then I remembered a friend saying on a recent photo trip to the coast, "Let's try to shoot what presents itself and not walk past one opportunity in search of another." So I stopped and turned back towards the woods where the calls continued from. The sun was in my face so I headed towards the river's edge so the sun would be at my back. To my amazement there were two male Pileated Woodpeckers low in the trees. They seemed to be jousting and chasing each other, not maliciously, more playfully. They would stay low on a tree and circling around the radius of the trunk as if playing a game of peek-a-boo. This had them hopping in circles opposite each other, this distraction allowed me to stalk up behind several trees and then crawl up behind a stump where I could hope for a clear shot between the Native Grape Vines, Catbrier and lower canopy tree branches. I adjusted the camera's ISO speed to 400 to allow for the shady conditions, then added a little focal length with a higher f stop and waited. Then, for a brief moment, they both stopped on the sunny side of the tree without obstructions and I fired a burst of shots.

The anticipation had me excited as I began to look through the more than fifty images I had captured from this encounter. Was the camera in focus? Was there enough light? Were the birds moving too much? Did I have a shot with BOTH birds unobstructed? Then, when I found the image above, I knew I was blessed. The birds' pose and attitude immediately reminded me of an illustration from the early 1800's by the late John J. Audubon (1785-1851) from his book "Birds of America". Perhaps this is the same type of behavior that this famous artist captured so well over a hundred and fifty years ago?

Small Bird Photo 1
Illustration by
John J. Audubon
(1785-1851)

iPhotoBirds Print Pileated Woodpeckers (PIWO-H-6280)

Archival quality fine art print, standard size for easy framing, hand signed by the artist, with white matte, backing board and clear protective cover. Image cropping may vary slightly depending on print size.
Print Size: 5" x 7" (with 8" x 10" Matte) . . . $20.00
Print Size: 8" x 10" (with 11" x 14" Matte) . . . $40.00
Print Size: 11" x 14" (with 16" x 20" Matte) . . . $75.00

Shipping and Handling is $5.95 TOTAL PER ORDER TOTAL (US Mail), no matter how many items purchased. Virginia State sales tax applies to in state shipping addresses.

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Equipment: Canon EOS D20 • Canon 100-400mm Zoom L Series Lens • Hand Held

Exposure: Shutter Speed = 1/60 second • Aperture = f 7.1 • Exposure Mode = Aperture Priority • Focus Mode: One Shot • Lens (Focal) Length = 380 mm • ISO = 400 • Aprox. Camera Distance = ~35 Feet • Date Shot: 11-04-07

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