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Photographing Steller's Jays

Posted by Liron on Thursday, August 28, 2014
Firstly, sorry for the absence to this blog! I have been away for much of the past month. If you ever want to see some photos during long blog absences (with less of a back story though), be sure to check out my Flickr page:

Every year I get Steller's Jays in my backyard, particularly in late summer and fall, when they come to feast on and stash the nuts from our hazelnut tree. Starting last year I put out peanuts for them as well as some perches in order to do a perch setup. This was inspired by a blog post done by a fellow nature photographer, Alfredo Fernadez:

Last year it took weeks before I successfully got a jay on the perch. This year, it has been much easier, and there have been birds coming to the yard and to the perch literally all day, rarely ever leaving the yard unless they are going to stash a nut somewhere to eat later on. They take as many nuts as they can carry but they eat very few; almost all the nuts they go and stash somewhere so they have food in the winter. They are stashing them all over the yard, and they are all hidden extremely well.

It is amazing to see how intelligent these birds are, in many ways. Firstly, in the way they hide the nuts, not only how they tuck them away in all sorts of places but also how they cover most of them with leaves and dirt. Secondly, they pick up every nut the see and weigh each one so they always take the largest and heaviest nuts first. Thirdly, they are fantastic mimics and almost fooled me by mimicking a crow.

I look forward to spending more time photographing these birds soon! :) 

Canon EOS 60D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | f/5.6 | 1/250 | ISO 100 | pop-up fill flash and separate off-camera fill flash




My favorite:

Behind the scenes video of the setup:

Thanks for looking! :)




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