My two photography friends and I were in South Central Oregon photographing birds from bird blinds. We had portable blinds for each of us strategically placed around some water ponds in a Ponderosa Pine forest at the edge of the high sage brush desert. We had a nice set-up of pictorial perches, limbs and logs, and lichen covered branches for the birds to land on while heading down to the ponds for water and bathing.
We were very dedicated bunch of bird photographers and spent hours in the blinds…mornings and evenings…arriving just before sunrise, and coming back around four in the afternoon and staying until it was too dark to photograph. Each morning we would move the blinds and perches around so that the sun was behind us and would have good frontal lighting. Then, move them back again around the other side of the pond for the evening photo shoot.
We had been at this for days, capturing a lot of beautiful images. We were doing a lot of bird watching too; soon we came to know the common species that came into water every day. New species would get us very excited, and send our camera shutters clicking away. It was special place, a bird photographer’s dream. It was just a joy to watch birds in their natural environment, each species different in their own unique way. Watching the individual bird behavior was almost as exciting as taking their pictures.
One day, it was almost sundown, just a little light left from setting sun, when a young female yellow-rumped warbler landed on our log perch… Funny thing, it just stayed there, it did not go to the water pond below. The minutes ticked by, yet the bird stayed right there. It looked a little odd, kind of seemed sick or something. It was shaking bit too; then, its tail started pumping up and down, slow like. This strange behavior had been going on for at least ten minutes…we all wonder what was going to happen next.
The tail pumping increased, and the bird’s eye squinted a bit, her body hunched up more, and all of sudden an oblong pink translucent egg appeared under her tail, laying right underneath her body, right on the horizontal branch…our log perch! She appeared to have a strange expression, a body language that said, “Wow, what happen? What had I just experience?” Still she sat there with the egg just below her, once she hunched down on it and slightly spread her feathers out, but this was only momentarily. The instinct to mother was there…but she was too young, and did know what to do…
After a few more minutes, and after looking around bit, she finally took flight, leaving the translucent pink egg lying on the branch all alone. I think all of us were a bit astonished with amazement; we couldn’t believe that she laid an egg on the branch, right before our eyes!
We took some shots of the egg all alone to complete the story, but the sun had gone and the light was fading away as we got out of the blinds. We went up close and looked at the egg; you could distinguish the yolk sack inside through the translucent outer pink layers. My friends when back to their cars and got their macro lenses, and came back for some close up shots of the egg. But the light was fading fast, and maybe, not fine enough for quality images, at least I believed at the moment. Also, I was still a little bit in awe of what I saw and just wanted to leave the egg alone and not somehow transgress or diminish what I saw from that young inexperienced female yellow-rumped warbler.
I knew that I would never see something like that again in the wild—a wondrous nature moment that touched my heart. Yes, a bit sad, yet part of nature. I am sure that the next egg she would lay would have a much more successful chance at survival.
This incident was one of many “wildlife experiences” that reminded me why I love nature: no moment is the same; every moment is different and uniquely alive…
To see more Bird images Of Southern Oregon, follow this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brucefinocchio/sets/72157627418420594/with/6036035283/