We are thrilled to present the latest collection of photographs that provide an intimate glimpse into the everyday lives of avian creatures. These candid and distinctive snapshots offer a window into a diverse array of birds thriving in their natural habitats. We owe this visual delight to Lisa, more famously recognized as Ostdrossel. Through her lens, she captures the visits of these unique feathered companions to her garden.
An ardent bird enthusiast, Lisa has ingeniously devised small ‘photo booths’ that immortalize birds and capture the presence of other diminutive creatures reveling in the nourishment she offers. Numerous features have already been devoted to her work. Lisa revealed her insights into various bird behaviors and temperaments in a prior installment. Keen to delve deeper, we reached out again, inquiring if she might recount a particular instance when she witnessed an especially captivating or unforeseen bird behavior. Her response illuminated an intriguing phenomenon: “There’s a behavior that initially startled me a bit – birds sunbathing. During scorching temperatures, birds resort to sunning or sunbathing as a coping mechanism for the heat and skin care, including ridding themselves of parasites. I’ve observed this behavior in several birds, most prominently in blue jays. They descend to the ground, unfurl their wings, open their beaks, and appear almost as though they are melting or undergoing a convulsion. After a brief interval, they rise and return to their normal state. (I recently shared an image of a juvenile blue jay exhibiting this behavior as well.)”
Human actions can exert a substantial impact on nature and its inhabitants. We prompted Lisa to impart a personal anecdote or observation that sensitized her to this influence and subsequently shaped her stance on birdwatching and conservation. She disclosed her thoughts, saying, “This summer serves as a prime illustration of this reality. Over the past few years, I’ve noted a decline in hummingbird sightings in my backyard, and this year’s sightings are the scarcest I’ve encountered. The ongoing wildfires in Canada could be a contributing factor – we’ve felt their effects here too, manifesting as smog and poor air quality. A few years back, the severe freeze in Texas also left its mark. While I do what I can within my small domain, birds traverse such expansive territories that a collective effort is imperative. Entities like Audubon or Cornell are commendably raising awareness about supporting birds during migrations, but we need to shift away from the notion that ‘it doesn’t concern me’ or ‘my impact is inconsequential.’ Images, anecdotes, and narratives possess the potential to galvanize individuals toward a deeper commitment. This, in part, propels my own endeavors.”
Curiosity led us to inquire whether Lisa had encountered any heartwarming or inspirational messages from her followers or admirers influenced by her work. She shared her perspective, remarking, “I prefer not to spotlight private stories that have been shared with me, but it’s undeniably heartening to witness how my photographs and videos serve to educate, move, and captivate people. This year, a nestbox housing a brood of chickadees, equipped with a camera, became a shared cause for encouragement. It afforded us the opportunity to illuminate the significance of constructing safe nesting spaces and comprehend the inner workings of a nestbox. Additionally, it’s gratifying to note that adoration for avian life and wildlife isn’t confined to any single nation; it’s a sentiment shared across the globe. Another recurring pleasure is when individuals inquire about enhancing their environments to be more welcoming to birds, and they recount tales of successful nesting ventures or the sudden appearance of unfamiliar species after introducing a birdbath.”
Lastly, our curiosity extended to Lisa’s aspirations regarding specific bird species or avian encounters she hopes to capture in the foreseeable future. Her response resonated with anticipation: “Each day presents a fresh prospect to immortalize something extraordinary, even within my own yard, where I’ve almost come to believe I’ve seen it all. It promises to be an exciting endeavor to devise distinct setups for the approaching colder months. I eagerly await the return of the flying squirrel and the potential sighting of the screech owl. Furthermore, a lingering aspiration is to eventually gain access to more expansive terrains, enabling exploration of wilder realms with the aid of cameras.”