As the days grow longer there’s a point where the local Cardnials ( and other songbirds) decide that love is in the air. The brightly colored males can be heard all through the hills. The female can be heard as well but her call is a simple loud chirp where the male call is long and varies in pitch. It’s also been my experience that the male takes great pride in frustrating photographers. Hello either sits high in the trees outside of the range of my lens or in the thickest clumps of twigs he can find. There’s been a few times that I could have sworn he threw a couple of “neener neeners” into his song as I raised my lens and focused in just in time to see him dart away.
But I don’t really give up so easy. If I let this bird win now he’ll only be encouraged to continue his taunting. So I have to come up with some ultimate plan to capture a bird in my lens. The most experienced bird hunter in the world has to be Mr. Wile E. Coyote. And, I’m familiar with all of his master plans to capture a bird. The problem there was that I didn’t have an anvil handy and I’m not really a skilled enough painter to create a convincing looking tunnel on any of the local rocks. So I did the next best thing. I found a few soundtracks of Cardnial calls on YouTube and played them over the speakers in my truck with the volume as high as it would go. It only took ten seconds to get a response.
The female Cardnial seemed to be very interested in whoever this new suitor was. She popped up right next to the truck window.
I hit the soundtrack again and she moved to the power line directly over my head.
The female Cardnial overhead looking for the second male.
It wasn’t long before the male couldn’t take this challenge to his territory and when he showed up he meant business! The fly in the ointment with my plan was that even though I got him to come out of hiding I never realized how twitchy an angry male Cardnial can be. He was no longer singing for a mate and he was flashing his wings and tail feathers in an effort to entice the other male into a duel for the honor of his lady.
Once he was visible I turned the volume back down slowly and he began to calm down a little. I was only able to catch him still enough for one shot before he took of in pursuit of the female.
He was still in a defensive posture and he never really got as close as the female Cardnial but now that I have a trick up my sleeve I hope to try for a closer shot soon.
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