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Posts Tagged ‘Turdus migratorius’

I grew up in the suburbs, so even domesticated farmyard animals seem exotic to me, like this bantam rooster and Red Angus cow with her calf that I encountered last weekend in Montpelier, Virginia while I was out of town for a wedding.

I am also including an image of an American Robin (Turdus migratorius) that I also captured on the farm—I like the way that the color of the rusted barbs matches that of the robin’s breast and how their shape mirrors that of the robin’s clawed feet.

 bantam rooster
Red Angus cow
American Robin
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Monday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge I captured this shot of an American Robin (Turdus migratorius) as it assumed a yoga-style pose and saluted the early morning sun.

In many ways, this is one of my favorite styles of wildlife photography. I find an ordinary subject, in this case the robin, and try to capture it in a way that highlights its beauty.

Of course, “ordinary” is a relative term and I have become more and more conscious of the fact that subjects that are common in one area may well be considered rare and exotic in another location. That heightened consciousness also caused me to identify this as an “American Robin,” because I have learned that Europeans have an equally beautiful, but different, bird that is also called a “robin.”

Beauty comes in many forms and one of my goals as a photographer is to capture a sense of that beauty and to share it with others. Ideally, it will cause some of those viewers to pause and wonder how it is that they did not notice that beauty themselves.Perhaps the next time they are out in nature, they will linger a little longer and look a bit closer and find that beauty revealed to them as well.

American Robin

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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I don’t tend to think of American Robins (Turdus migratorius) as acrobatic birds—most of the time I see them poking about on the ground, the traditional early bird searching for the worm. I photographed this acrobatic robin in February at Huntley Meadows Park, a marshland park not far from where I live. The robin was precariously perched on a very thin branch and moved slowly and carefully to maintain its balance and gently grab the little red berries you can see in the photo.

American Robin

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There were lots of American Robins (Turdus migratorius) on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, including one that decided to take a bath in a puddle in the middle of the path. A couple of years ago  I probably would not have bothered to identify the bird as an “American Robin,” but now I know that there is a European Robin, which is a completely different bird.

The first shot of these three is the sharpest and I like the way that you can see the succession of puddles and the robin’s reflection. I am equally drawn, however, to the action shots with the water splashing into the air. The light was pretty limited at the time and only afterwards did I realize that my shutter speed had dropped to 1/125 of a second.  That is why you can see some motion blur in the second shot, an effect that I think helps to give a dynamic feel to the image. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to include the third shot, but decided that I liked the out of focus robin in the background, whose peaceful pose is in sharp contrast with that of the frenetic flailing of the bathing robin.

bathing robin

bathing robin

bathing robin

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Like a tightrope walker, this American Robin (Turdus migratorius) inched its way along a narrow vine at Huntley Meadows Park, its eyes focused on the prize that awaited it at the other end. Periodically the robin used its wings for balance and moved forward until it reached a steady position almost within reach of the berries.

With a quick thrust forward of its head, the robin was able to snatch one of the low-hanging fruits. When I left it, the robin seemed to be enjoying its prize with a smile on its face.

American Robin

American Robin

American Robin

American Robin

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do robins have tongues? I never thought much about this question until I looked at the shots I took this past weekend of American Robins (Turdus migratorius) at Huntley Meadows Park in Northern Virginia.

As a child, I was told that robins were a harbinger of spring and that may have been the case in Massachusetts. Clearly that is not the case where I live now, for an entire flock of robins was present in the park in what I would still consider the middle of winter.

Some of the robins were pecking about on the ground, but many of them were drawn to some kind of vegetation that had bluish-colored berries. I usually think of robins eating worms, so it was fascinating to watch them pick and swallow berries, acting much like Cedar Waxwings.

When reviewing my photos, I saw what appeared to be a tongue in some of my images, so I did a little research. It turns out that robins do have tongues that they use to help them swallow fruit. In fact, different birds use their tongues for a wide variety of purposes, as Laura Erickson illustrates wonderfully in a  blog posting entitled “More about Bird Tongues than a Normal Person Would Want to Know.”

In the first image below, the robin has just grabbed the berry and is starting to pull it in. In the second image, the tongue is more clearly visible and the process has moved along a bit. I hoped to get a shot of the final step in swallowing the berry, but the robin turned its head to the side at that moment.

American Robin

American Robin

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I don’t paint, but if I did, I’ve love to be able to paint graphic images like this American Robin (Turdus migratorious) that I photographed in the snow earlier this month at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.

Robin in the snow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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