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With the new camera at my disposal, I have been making plans for my photographic project of the year – birds.  I come from a long line of bird lovers – my Mom especially – and for as long as I can remember I have loved watching them and listening to them.  With the sun out, the sky blue, and the air warm, I figured today was a perfect day to get started with this new project. 

Last year was my “butterfly” year, and I made it my “business” to photograph as many different varieties as possible.  I loved every minute of it – even though it could be terribly frustrating trying to talk them into lighting long enough for me to snap their pictures.  Oddly enough, many of them didn’t seem to care whether or not I wanted to get their photo, and the “closed wing” varieties would not open their wings to show me their topsides for love nor money. . .go figure!  It must be that way with any- and every-thing beautiful.  They get tired of the paparazzi!

Because I’m still in love with butterflies – in spite of their arrogance – I’m going to keep that project going, and keep trying to get more and better shots of as many varieties as I can.  But, now I have added birds into the mix.  Should be interesting.  Last year, before the gift of the DSLR, I wanted to get shots of birds, but I could not get close enough for any decent shots.  Actually, I could get close enough to the feeder they frequented, it’s just that when I was close enough, they weren’t.  Again – go figure!  What could a clumsy, gawky almost 6′, 160 lb. human woman do to them? It then dawned on me what the term “bird brain” means.  It seems that they have not the intelligence to figure out that the people who feed them all winter long are not out to harm them.

On the other hand, they might be thinking we have just been fattening them up for the kill, so perhaps “bird brain” is not really a pejorative term.  In any event – now I, with my camera, telephoto lenses, and tripod, have set up a bird-watching, photo-catching station in one of our upstairs bedroom’s windows.  I’m all set – I can photograph those birds when they don’t even know I’m doing it!  I’m ready!  The bird feeder’s full – offering their favorite treats!

Except – THEY KNOW!!!  I don’t know who tipped them off, but not bird one has stopped in for a gnosh since I set up the camera.  Hmmm.  By the way, our bird baths are also fully liquidated – ready for a nice cool drink or a splash whenever they want it.  I don’t get it.  Apparently someone hasn’t told them what nice people Hubs and I are.  So I have a favor to ask of you all, my Gentle Readers:  those of you who feed the birds around your homes – please ask your frequent diners to spread the news that a lovely couple(most of the time – although both of us can look rather scary first thing in the morning) in Western North Carolina is anxious to make them comfortable and keep them well fed if they will only consent to having their photo taken occasionally. Hey!  I’ll even feed them on spec – they can eat without being photographed constantly.  I’ll give them frequent breaks from the shutter (besides, I don’t restrict myself 24/7 to the upstairs bedroom anyway). I also do not require them to pose; and now that I have a camera capable of fast shutter speeds, they don’t even have to remain very still!  What else could a bird want, I ask you!  Spread the word!  There are a couple of suckers in Waynesville – it’s a sweet deal all the way around. . .

So, herewith my poetic plea:

For the birds. . .
© 2011 Paula Tohline Calhoun

The feeder on the platform
High atop the pole,
Is filled with seeds of many kinds
To satisfy the soul
Of ‘most every avian species
That might frequent our backyard.
And even those non-frequent fliers
Would find it very hard
To turn their noses up at
The treats our feeder offers!
In fact, such lavish gourmet fare
Has emptied out our coffers.
So please, dear friends of feathered ilk –
Your presence is desired.
In fact you’re free to build a nest –
Rent-free – no lease required!
And if perhaps I chance upon
The perfect photo-op
Just as you feed, or preen, or wash
Please be mindful of my f-stop!
The photos that I take will be
Used mostly for my pleasure.
But, should they ever win a prize 
I won’t forget to measure
An extra cup of seed for you,
And I’ll put out a suet cake,
To thank you for the part you’ve played
In our photographic “give and take.”

So, my dear Gentle Readers, have I been polite, and asked enough. . .?

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