I like to look for bird behavior in photographing birds and create images that tell a story and can almost speak for themselves. I look for images that will speak to the viewer. Ansel Adams once said, “Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation, and execution.” Similarly, you’ve probably heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
I recently captured an image of an interaction between two house finches. I was interested to see how this image spoke to those who viewed it. I posted it on social media with the simple label, “Caption this.” Here are a few of the responses I got.
(Have a caption idea of your own? We want to hear it! Include it in the comments below.)
- And where were YOU all day, MISTER?!
- What do you mean you thought it was me??? She’s a SPARROW!
- Why are you blushing?!
- I don’t know much about birds, but I can tell which of these is the female.
- Are you even listening?
- Why did you give the kids candy after 8 pm?
- What do you mean they’re out of toilet paper?
- I’ve told you once I’ve told you a million times, no poop in the nest!
- I said, “Take a right!”
- It’s your fault it’s raining again!
- You’re late, Walter! And I saw you staring at that little chickadee at the feeder today. You know she’s a brazen little hussy!
- Where have you been?!? You’ve been down to that Seedy little bar again!
- How many times have I told you…
- You didn’t hear a thing I said!
- You never listen to me!
- I saw you watching the young female cardinal down the street!!
- The Boat House patio was open, and you didn’t take me?
- Don’t “Edith – Edith” me, Archie – this rain stops or I go…!!!
- I’m singing in the rain, Just singing in the rain.
- I thought YOU were sitting with the kids!!
- Do I look fat?
- What do you mean I’m mad as a wet hen
- You bought me a feed block?! I asked you for sunflower seed! You don’t listen to a thing I say…
- Feed me.
What the photo doesn’t say or show is that a moment before I shot it, the male had fed the female a seed. The last couple of responses are on the right track; I think she wanted another seed.
There are many reasons for doing bird photography, but looking for images that capture bird behavior and tell a story can be extra rewarding and fun. Look for interactions between birds, birds being themselves in their environment, or just a bird doing something as simple as taking a bath.
Check out my column in the July/August issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest titled “Why Bird Photography?” for my thoughts about the various purposes for photographing birds.