On a dreary, rainy spring morning I was delighted to see four Indigo Buntings flitting around the bird feeders in my yard. I started snapping pictures, hoping to get some good images. I was never able to catch an image of the Indigos together. The birds in this shot are actually the same bird – brought together with the magic of Photoshop.
Most times I use Photoshop to tweak my photos – to crop, straighten, correct the color, etc. Some times I use it to create an entirely different image than what I started with. Here’s the basic process for this double Indigo image. Remember, all the Indigos in these images are the same bird, just captured in different locations.
I started with photo 1. I straightened it, enlarged it and cropped it. I also did a little work to clean up some of the white spots of bird poop on the side of the feeder that you don’t notice on the small version but would be ugly when enlarged.
Time to add another Indigo Bunting to the image. I isolated the Indigo Bunting on his perch from photo 2 and copied and pasted it to photo 1. I had to scale the second bird to proper proportions and overlay it over the perch on the opposite side of the first bird. Then I cropped it to the image you see as photo 3.
Looking at photo 3, I decided that the Goldfinches were a distraction, so I removed them by cloning parts of the feeder and surrounding background over them.
Things were looking pretty good, but I decided that the image was wider than I really wanted. To change it’s overall proportions I narrowed the feeder, bringing the birds closer together.
After tweaking the contrast and sharpness the project was complete. I hope you like it.
A few days later it dawned on me – I could have created an image with the feeder full of Indigo Buntings. Maybe I’ll work on that when I’m stuck in the house on a cold winter’s day, wishing I could be out photographing birds.
(Click on the main image for a larger view.)
I took this photo at a small wetland area on my drive home. They were closer and on dry ground when I drove up, but as soon as the mama spotted me, she took the kids for a safe swim.
Canada Geese have become so prolific they are often considered a nuisance…but how can you not love the goslings. I counted 11 little ones in this brood.
(Click the image to view a larger version.)
Those acrobatic clowns from our “Flying Circus” never cease to entertain and amaze.
As the seed level drops in the feeders, the level of creativity and persistence among the American Goldfinch community rises.
The zany, upside-down bird makes this an image worth posting, but I also find the white pattern on the wings of the bird in the middle interesting.
(Click the photo to view a larger version.)
Just another stunning sunset at our rural Kewaunee County, WI home. I snapped this a few minutes after the sun dipped below the horizon on Tuesday, May 17, 2011.
I took these with my Sony SLT-A55. I used the “sunset” setting on the above photo. The photo below was taken using the “sweep panorama” mode.
(Click on either image to see a larger version.)
“I just flew in from Baltimore…and boy are my wings tired!”
We have a few orioles that show up this time of year. They like the oranges we put out. This guy still has a little orange stuck to his beak.
According to Wikipedia.org – – The Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) is a small icterid blackbird that averages 18 cm long and weighs 34 g. This bird received its name from the fact that the male’s colors resemble those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore.
Adults have a pointed bill and white bars on the wings. The adult male is orange on the underparts, shoulder patch and rump. All of the rest of the male is black. The adult female is yellow-brown on the upper parts with darker wings, and dull orange on the breast and belly.
The Baltimore Oriole’s nest is a tightly woven pouch located on the end of a branch, hanging down on the underside.
Baltimore Orioles forage in trees and shrubs, also making short flights to catch insects. They mainly eat insects, berries and nectar, and are often seen sipping at hummingbird feeders. Oriole feeders contain essentially the same food as hummingbird feeders, but are designed for orioles, and are orange instead of red and have larger perches. Baltimore Orioles are also fond of halved oranges and grape jelly.
(Click the photo to see a larger version.)
The color of this bird is so vivid, it almost hurts your eyes. This Scarlet Tanager was perched in the middle of our apple tree when I took this photo. A spot where a lot of birds would blend in and not be noticed. This guy was an obvious stand out.
This is the first Scarlet Tanager we’ve seen at our home in rural Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. It seems he was just stopping for a snack on his way to wherever he’ll spend his summer. He spent the afternoon alternating between the apple tree and the platform feeder where he ate on the oranges we have out for orioles and house finches.
According to Wikipedia – – The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a medium-sized American songbird. Formerly placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), it and other members of its genus are now classified in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae).The species’s plumage and vocalizations are similar to other members of the cardinal family. Adults have pale stout smooth bills.
Adult males are bright red with black wings and tail; females are yellowish on the underparts and olive on top, with olive-brown wings and tail. The adult male’s winter plumage is similar to the female’s, but the wings and tail remain darker.Scarlet Tanagers are often out of sight, foraging high in trees, sometimes flying out to catch insects in flight. They eat mainly insects and fruit.
There are times when I look out the window of our rural home and think, “What a circus!” Birds are flying in every direction to take advantage of a free meal from one of our many feeders.
Of all the birds we see, the American Goldfinches are among the most active and consistent performers at our house. It can be quite entertaining to watch them zipping in and out; hither and yon.
When frozen by the camera, the Goldfinch’s quick, bouncy style of flight seems unnatural and awkward.
All of the birds in this photo are American Goldfinches – except the one Chipping Sparrow whose tail can bee seen as he perches on the back side of the feeder.
(Click the image for a larger version.)
This image was taken on a drab and drizzly day, so you’ll notice his feathers appear a bit damp.
There is no shortage of Goldfinches at our house – year round. (Might have something to do with the food we put out.) It’s nice to see them back in their bright yellow and black plumage for the spring and summer.
(Click on the main image for a larger view.)