Those who know me well know that I’m very fond of birds. Above is my little lovebird, Scooter, who sadly is no longer with us. Over the years of being his best friend, I was able to develop quite a rapport with the little guy. One example of that was being able to coax him into showing off his feathers. One way was by asking him to “get fluffy”, at which point he would fluff up his feathers and stick his breast out proudly. The other was by showing me his wings as he’s doing in the photo above.
I came across this photo from a Dakota Zoo photo contest a while back, and it brought to mind the “conversation” I had with this sandhill crane. My boys know this as the “pecking” bird for reasons that should be self-evident from the nom de guerre which they assigned to him, and I’ve always known this to be a particularly cranky bird. Well, one day I visited the zoo on my lunch break in an effort to photograph this challenging subject. After what seemed like twenty minutes of talking to him, he suddenly began to show off his wings. As I encouraged him, he finally struck a pose that was a shoo-in for the photo contest.
Then I spotted this photo, from the very first year I got my first digital SLR camera. I was poking around on the sandbar beneath the old Liberty Memorial Bridge when I spotted a sandpiper wandering around nearby, keeping his distance and eyeballing me. I began to talk to him since there was no one else around and I didn’t see anything else worth photographing. I stayed in one spot for a while, looking around and talking to the bird, when suddenly he began to stretch out a wing. He didn’t take his eye off me, of course, but he spent the next several minutes stretching out those feathers.
Finally, we have the trifecta. I took another lunch break to head to the lake at the Game & Fish office east of town, the large OWLS area which is always promising as a photo spot. This time around I spotted three geese who were apparently happy to see me. Not only did they let me walk right up to them, but they all began to vogue in front of me for the next several minutes. I started chatting ’em up for a while in the hopes of keeping the mood light, and they kept up the act for a while until apparently we all thought it was played out and we parted ways.
I’m not claiming any sort of supernatural gift or anything, but when I consider all these instances it looks like I have a knack with winged creatures. Even more likely is dumb luck, but I’ll take it. I love birds, and when I can get them to relax around me and even show off a little I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m sure the fact that I egg ’em on so much (see what I did there?) once they start to show their feathers helps get them into the act, and I’m glad I have a camera to catch them hamming it up.