BIRD FACES: Headshots of 15 distinctive birds

Currently at The Southend Store, Lopez Island, WA until January 16, 2017

My primary photographic targets are birds in flight, so I spend a lot of time watching and waiting. Sometimes, a bird and I look at each other for long periods of time, each wondering when the other is going to move on. This show is a small collection of images from such moments and it is a chance to reflect on the wonderful adaptations that can be seen in the facial features of birds.  The bills and head shapes generally reflect the birds’ primary sources of food and their methods of food capture.   [More below….]

Click on any image to see Gallery

The assortment of bills on display range from the ordinary of the Guira Cuckoo that feeds on insects and small ground prey, through the Jabiru that senses fish and anything else passing through its enormous black scythe of a bill held open in the water. It’s relative, the Saddle-billed Stork, has a brightly colored bill of similar dimensions and is sometimes called the German Flag bird.  The dramatic protuberance of the Swordbill Hummingbird is perfectly suited to feed on nectar concealed deep inside trumpet flowers. The decidedly unsettling bald face of the Black Vulture features a flesh-tearing bill that is the stuff of nightmares!  A famous bird making an appearance is a member of the Darwin Finch family (a Large Ground Finch) with a beak adapted to cracking large seeds.

Two iconic birds in the show – the Atlantic Puffin and the Toco Toucan – have very specialized bills that enable them to carry large quantities of fish and reach distant fruit, respectively. A clutch of Barn Swallow chicks and a solitary Magnificent Frigatebird chick have unbelievably large gapes as they anticipate a returning parent bearing food.  Rounding out the selection are a Long-eared Owl from Nevada, a Rufescent Tiger Heron from Brazil, and “selfies” of a Waved Albatross from the Galapagos Island and a Steller’s Sea Eagle from Japan.

Ah yes, and number 15: I couldn’t resist a flight picture of a Blue-footed Booby taking off from the water and looking straight at the camera.

The individual images can be viewed  here:  [Click on any image to see Gallery]