Saturday, August 22, 2009

Downy Woodpecker Nest

May 15, 2009 by Wil Hershberger

I have found a downy woodpecker nest on our property. It appears that the male was in the last stages of excavating the hole when I found it a few days ago. I carefully walked in with my camera and took some photos.

Downy woodpecker nest_WH_WIL6437

It took a few minutes for the male to return. When he did he appeared to be checking out the entrance then the interior. The female showed up shortly after he entered the nest. She too appeared to be checking it out. It now appears that we have a pair of downys that are ready to start raising a family.

Regarding the photography – The nest is well under the canopy of expanding leaves. There is very little natural light on the nest entrance. Using flash as the main light and setting the ambient exposure to -1 made for pleasing images. Since I was using a 500mm lens I was also using the Better Beamer flash attachment to concentrate the light from the flash onto the area covered by the long focal length lens. Using flash allowed for faster shutter speeds that helped to freeze the motion and the flash filled in any shadows that would have been there with natural light at this time of day.

For more photos (be sure to read the captions) see Downy Woodpecker Nest.

Wil

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