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Prairie Birds

November 29th, 2010 1 comment

For several years some birds like Henslow’s Sparrow, Sedge Wren, and Upland Sandpiper had eluded me.  They are not the most striking-looking or the most interesting birds.  However, they are unique and important in the prairie ecosystem. 

In fact, Henslow’s Sparrow is on a watch list in many states including Missouri.  These birds spend most of their time hiding in grass and only in certain time of the year (and only if you’re lucky) you can hear their calls. 

Some photographers don’t get much excited about these birds or don’t have much desire to photograph them.  But as a conservation photographer, I feel it is my duty to document these birds and make people care and understand their importance.  

To find these birds, I have to learn to listen to their calls and watch for their movement in the prairie.  Both Henslow’s Sparrow and Sedge Wren pop up very quickly to perch on grasses or flowers.  My technique of getting close to these birds is to sit low and move slow. 

I was able to get close enough to this bird with my 600mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter.  One hot evening I spot an upland sandpiper perched on a fence post. I positioned myself directly below where the bird appeared.  

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