Photo of the Week #8 - Soaring Kildeer

February 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.


This photo was taken on the sandy shore of Cuttyhunk Island.  I was taking pictures of the usual things like the waves, trees and creepy crawly things in the sand and suddenly there was a commotion.  Flying about and also running along the sand I saw quite a few brown birds squawking and making quite a racket.  I instantly recognized them as Killdeer.  It is possible that I may have been too close to one of their nests which they make on the ground.  They are very skittish and do not let humans get too close to them.  Killdeer are famous for outsmarting predators that go after their young chicks in the nest.  The adult bird will fake a broken wing and draw the predator away from the nest.  Once the threatening animal has been drawn away from the young birds the adult quickly takes to the air leaving the predator to wonder how he fell for this ingenious trick!  The predator bows its head in shame and walks home with tail between its legs.


The Killdeer's color helps them to blend into their surroundings so well that they will see you before you see them.  Trying to photograph them in flight is an exercise in futility.  They are extremely fast and change directions so quickly you may be tempted to just give up trying...I know I almost did!  I was fortunate to capture this one bird that was moving left to right and I followed him with my camera hoping and praying the entire time.  I used a very fast shutter speed of 1/2000 of a second to freeze the subject and an aperture of f6.3 to give me enough depth of field to have the bird in focus.  Once in a while it's nice to challenge yourself with photography, and for me, these birds delivered that for sure!



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/2,000 sec at f6.3, ISO 200
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm


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