Room For Improvement

We have a row of eight Leyland Cypress that we planted during the summer of 2003 as a screen between us and our next door neighbor’s yard. We spaced them ten feet apart and now in January of 2012 they are around twenty feet tall and have grown together nicely.

Living in the Leyland Cypress screen is a pair of Northern Cardinals. These birds are as shy and elusive as they are beautiful.  I have tried on four separate occasions to get a decent photo of one. I can usually only get a glimpse before they fly away to another portion of the Leyland Cypress screen. The male makes his little peeping sound as if to taunt me and the moment he sees me make eye contact, he relocates again. It’s like a game of hide and seek.

Tonight, after making at least five slow laps around the massive Leyland Cypress screen, I found a place where I could see him without him being aware of it for a few seconds. He was in the last tree in the row. I had to shoot through a bunch of branches but I could almost sort of barely kind of make a picture.

Northern Cardinal at the edge of his Leyland Cypress Lair

Northern Cardinal at the edge of his Leyland Cypress Lair

The focus could be much better and it would be nice if there weren’t branches blocking the bird. So there you have the title for this blog entry. Room For Improvement!

My goal is to get a good, clear shot of this guy by fall. We’re certainly going to be getting a bird feeder to help with that goal. Some of the members of the local photography group have made some nice Cardinal pictures so I know it can be done.

I did some googling for tips on photographing Northern Cardinals and found this article. The author sets up the camera on a tripod and focuses on the bird feeder, when a Cardinal arrives at the feeder the author operates the camera from remote. I might have to try something like that.

If you have any insights on photographing Northern Cardinals, please post a comment below.

Thanks for visiting my blog!


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8 Responses to Room For Improvement

  1. Alex Teach says:

    My insight? Come tomy house. Seriously. We feed them (don’t laugh) and have an average of 6 to 8 at a time in the yard. Card’s have always been my favorite, and I’m glad to fill their ugly-footed little guts.

  2. Phil Thach says:

    Might have to try that! Also, maybe mine won’t be so elusive once I start feeding them!

    • Ron Bingham says:

      Just expanding on Alex’s comments: My wife has been feeding birds during the winter months for ten years now at her Signal Mountain home. The cardinals are by far the most aggressive birds at the feeder, running off all competition . . . except for woodpeckers, which will kick their red-feathered behinds. Luckily for them, woodpecker appearances are few and far between.

      • Phil Thach says:

        I may have to go ahead and work on the bird feeder situation on my next off day!

        Speaking of Woodpeckers, I’ll be posting a photo and video of a Pileated Woodpecker that I made in Cades Cove on Superbowl Sunday. I should have that one up by Thursday morning. Stay Tuned! 🙂

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