birds struggle in the wind.

The wind remains blowing in the 20-30 mile per hour range. It’s a breeze in the early morning and by 8am it’s a full gale. It has it’s advantages as well as disadvantages it depends upon what stage of acceptance a person is in. It will blow until September it may cease earlier and there will be a few days during the summer when it doesn’t blow. However those days are few and far between.

One advantage is when birds fly against it they slow down making getting images of them easier. They will hover remaining in the same spot making zero headway. Being prepared for it is the key, fast multi-point focusing and a fast trigger finger win the day. But the wind is their partner as well allowing them to use it to their advantage the small birds perform acrobatics. I’m not sure if it’s playing or they merely get tangled up in it but they can sure make some fancy moves.

Either it forces them downward or they prefer to fly close to the ground when it’s blowing. Up to 15mph it doesn’t appear to affect them too much but when it approaches 20mph they begin to leave the scene. If by chance the wind and Sun is behind the photographer it is a much better advantage. But if the wind is behind while facing the Sun it may well result in a disappointing outing.

There are times when birds attempt to take off with the wind as the Scrub Jay attempted. It made for a good photograph and the bird suffered no ill effects but it did tumble a bit. I’m confident it did not remain in the birds memory as a catastrophic endeavor.

They will fly with the wind the photographer must be prepared if they do. One trick is to pick them up coming towards the camera from a distance. The further the better, I use the back button focus holding it on the bird until it is within proper range then take a series of pictures. The other trick is to see them approaching, in the wind they seem to come from nowhere.

Notice the tules lining the far shore indicting by the angle how hard the wind is blowing. It was in the 25mph range when these two birds took off with it to their back. I have found fledging Owls that took off from the nest with the wind to their back caught in it then hitting a utility pole. The wind is dangerous for birds, they are not dumb animals and are well aware of the danger. I believe that may be the reason for their absence when we have high winds and heavy seas.

Jacques Lebec Flutter Shutter

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