"Eastern Bluebird on Plum Branch"
This photograph is from the "Bluebird Project" Collection. 

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As is the case with many people across the eastern United States, I have become obsessed with the eastern bluebird.  Next to the ruby-throated hummingbird, it is my favorite songbird.  Perhaps it is the stunning saturated blue and rust coloration of the male, or maybe it is the way the female and male defend the nest without thought of danger.  Maybe it is the way they tirelessly feed their young ones in the nest.  They are a model to us all on how to rear our children  A lesson from God if you will.

My love affair with the bluebird started in the winter of 2014 when I made my first photograph of a bluebird, who happened to perch outside my home's window.  To this day, that photograph is one of my most sold and popular pieces.  I have watched the bluebird make nest after nest in my nesting boxes and now as I write this, the female and male are building a new nest in one of my nest boxes.

The image above is a new image of the male of the nesting pair this year.  The beautiful plum blossoms show us all that no matter what happens, no matter what controversy or virus may be attacking our population, the beauty and birth of spring will go on and so will the human race.

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"Great Blue Surfside"
This photograph is from my "Avian Florida" Collection. 

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There is a steady breeze blowing along the northern end of an island just south of Tampa Bay, Florida.  The dark blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico are calm, with slow short waves breaking on the tan colored sand.  In the distance, among the heat shimmering across the beach, I see a tall bird slowly making his way toward me.

With my Canon 1D Mark II hanging from a Black Rapid Strap, I begin walking toward the bird to get a closer view, but I soon realize, that as I move his direction, he starts moving away.  Obviously, this is not going to be an effective strategy to photograph him.

This is where many years of understanding bird behavior pays off.  Often times, shorebirds and wading birds are intimidated by a person standing up.  Perhaps it is just an innate defense mechanism built into them from the beginning of creation.  I do not know.  With a bird like this, it is best to lay down on your belly and wait.

Sure enough, almost as soon as I got down on my stomach, the heron began to approach. Once he broke 30 yards, I began shooting.  He now could see I was no threat to him and walked right past me, only about 10 yards away.  It was a great opportunity to photograph such a magnificent bird in such a beautiful setting.

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