Male Eastern Bluebird, Dubuque, Iowa

A couple days a go I received a call from my photography friend Kevin, inviting me for a backyard shooting at his house in the evening. A pair of Eastern Bluebirds were feeding their offspring, three little chicks in a bird box. Kevin builds nest boxes, not just for his land, also for public places like Swiss Valley. He had set up a nice perch near the nest and all what we had to do was waiting for the parents with some food in their bills. Almost every time they came with insects, larva, or spiders the bluebirds used the perch to observe the surrounding before they safely approached the entrance to the box.

We sat comfortably in lawn chairs behind our tripods, had good conversation, and clicked away when the action took place. The low sun provided relativ soft light and it was not necessary to use any flash for color boost or to fill in the shadows.

Female Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds are some of the prettiest birds we have here and they are very photogenic. The blue of the female’s wing feathers is a lot paler than the male’s but both parents put the same efforts in to find enough food for the chicks.

Food supply in abundance

This was the shot Kevin and I were hoping for, both adult bluebirds with food in their bills on the perch at the same time. It happened only once this evening but we used this opportunity. I usually shoot with the long lens wide open at f/6.3 but here I had it set to f/8. This provided of course still not enough depth of field for having both birds in sharp focus. The focus was on the male at the top but the photo summarizes the story of this evening.

It is always fun to shoot together with Kevin and I’m thankful again for sharing a great photo opportunity.