Bad Hair Day

While going through some old slides the other day, I ran across this image of a baby Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) that was taken in my front yard a few years ago.  Not sure exactly when it was taken, but I’ve been shooting digitally since 2004, so it was before then!  I scanned the slide (I have a rather cheap scanner, so the quality is not the greatest) and thought this would be a fun slide for a Friday post.  So, here it is:



As you can see, “Junior” still has his down coating, which gives him an appearance of having “a bad hair day”.  In fact, every time I look at this shot, the image of Albert Einstein comes to mind!  This photo was taken using Fuji Velvia (ISO 50) film, a Canon EOS-1n film camera, and a 500mm f/4 EF lens.  I possibly even had a 1.4x teleconvertor attached (that’s the nice thing about digital photography, you can always look at the accompanying file data and determine exactly what was used to make the image!).

I found this little guy in the nest while I was mowing.  As I mowed around a very large Eastern red cedar, I observed both a male and female Cardinal would alternately fly from the tree whenever the mower got close.  After a few rounds of this game, I parked the tractor and walked over to the tree.  As I carefully moved some branches to the side, I saw a neat little nest that was a couple of feet from the tree’s perimeter.  And inside the nest was “Junior”.  Being careful not to scare the youngster, I let the branches fall back into place and continued my mowing.

Later in the day, after the mowing was done, I decided I wanted to try photographing Junior in his nest.  But I didn’t want to frighten Junior.  So I grabbed a portable blind I sometimes use and headed out to the cedar tree.  Once there, I carefully positioned the blind so that I would have a clear shot of Junior, being careful not to get the blind too close.  Then I headed back to the house, leaving the blind in place for Junior and his parents to become familiar with.  On the following day, I headed out to the blind with my camera, tripod, and blind stool.  After setting up the tripod and camera, I began photographing Junior as he sat in the nest, looking about (I think he could hear the camera shutter as I photographed him).  After about 15 minutes, I quietly exited the blind with my camera gear.  And later in the day, I removed the blind.

Since that time, the nest no longer resides in that tree; it most likely either fell down during high winds or was possibly removed by a predator.  In any event, I will always remember my 15 minutes babysitting with Junior!

By the way, no birds were harmed during the photographing of this cute little bird  :o)

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