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Old Jun 8, 2004, 2:09 PM   #1
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Hello everyone, I have mix feelings about this photo, because of what I have witness...



I'll tell the story behind this. Today I went to my local marsh / preserve area to try to catch new birds, saw many but couldn't manage to get a clear shot. While being near a bush tree, I was seeing a male and female yellow warbler flying in and out of a specific bush.

First I thought they were building the nest, then with the zoom I could see they were carrying green worms to that area, I moved and to my surprise I saw these little head popping off a nest and I was so ecstatic to see newly born life asking to be fed.I moved around, trying to get a clear shot at them, but didn't wanted to get too close, the parents were very busy flying in and out to fed the 5 of them.

Larger image here :

http://www.bytephoto.com/photopost/s...mp;ppuser=1867

Then, I was there 6 meter from the nest and I was just waiting for the moment the parents would come to feed them. I could see my presence was making the parents a little nervous. I thought to myself, hmmm if I scare them too much, I'll go away and let them feed the little ones.

Then , one of the Warbler came closer with a green worm in its beak. Then all of a suddon while watching through the camera finder I see this snake climbing the nest, mouth open trying to catch one. If you ever heard a Canadian French speaking swearing loudly, you'll know what I mean. My instinctive reaction was to rush to defend the defenceless. Almost caught the snake with my hand (he would have not liked what I would have to done to him, believe me).

But this is bush like territory, and he escaped rapidly, couldn't see where he was. I was pissed believe me. Then I start to think, hey this is nature doing its own thing. The balance of nature, natural selection and so on. My philosophy about nature photography is not to intervene, at any cost. But the emotion was stronger than the logic. I couldn't let days old defenseless warbler be eaten by an evil snake.

Then I backed off, was telling myself, let the nature do its own thing. Went back to the camera and watched again the little ones through the finder. Minutes later, while watching the nest and the neighboorhood, the snake came back again ! Arghh, I rushed again and my intention was not friendly towards him. I arrived too late, he escaped... I looked in the nest, from 5, it was down to 3... I was sad.

Why would I be sad, its nature... I know... Silly things uhh ? Why would I be sad about an event like this. Also in restrospect, I could have easily caught this with the camera, the snake eating them. I didn't, it would have been a super shot. I didn't do it. I wanted to prevent the snake to eat them. I know that when I'll come back tomorrow, the nest will probably be empty, all eaten...

There's probable dozen and dozen of nest around that marsh area with baby warblers who will make it. I just feel terrible about what i witness, thinking the poor parents be empty of little one to feed soon.

I know maybe many of you will say "it's only birds, you're silly, etc..." But I tend to appreciate these birds so much , after spending countless hours watching, photographing them.

Cheers everyone
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 2:25 PM   #2
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wow! that's some story! that is something that i know happens all the time.....but watching it happen...just so sad! i'm not sure if i would've ran after the snake like you did....but i'm not sure if i'd want a picture of those poor defenseless birds being eaten..that would probably be an amazing shot....but i'm not sure if i'd be able to take it....i'm not sure i'd want to record something like that....i don't know

anyway....that shot is quite nice cute little birds i love how all the branches and twigs and stuff are angled down...in a triangle shape pointing at the subject very nice
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 2:41 PM   #3
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And the real frustration kicks in when you start to think "did my presents cause the birds to change their behavior such that it let the snake find the nest? Did I actually facilitate the death of those chicks?" This is something that I worry about every time I go near a nest... not a pleasant through.

I know where a marsh wren nests every year (always within about 10-15 feet of last years.) I'm always torn about trying to shot it. It's usually buried so deep it isn't worth trying, but some times I can kinda get a look.... I don't think I've stayed more than about 10 minutes to minimize my impact.

One of the really nice advantages of the digital crop factor of the sensors is that it lets you stay even further away from the animals and still get the picture. Decreasing your impact is a good thing.

On the flip side the island that I was on a few weeks ago not only had black backed gulls nesting all over, it also had a black duck nest. They swim out with 8 chicks or so every day.... and the reality is that the gulls will pick off the chicks and eventually there won't be any more. I'm told it happens every year so (probably) that exact pair of ducks. So it certainly does happen in nature, and humans often have absolutely no effect on it.

Eric
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 3:15 PM   #4
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Think of the great pictures you could have gotten of the snake eating the chicks.

I know it is nature, but I couldn't have resisted intervening either.
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 8:41 PM   #5
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I hear ya... It would have a one of a kind site (Shoot) to have captured that in action. You hardly ever see it, and then to have a camera right handly. The odds like that are very slim. However, Ive been in a similar situation when I was little. I was playing in my parents yard and over by the scrubs at the door a small snake had a toad by the foot draggin him backwards. I started crying and then I thought (Gotta save him!). So I got a stick and a pounded the crap out of him. Yeah it wasnt nice, but emotions do kick in, even if your just a little kid.

If I had been you in that situation, I could see why you would have that type of reaction. Just little babies. Happens all the time, but you dont wanna see it. I myself may have been very tempted to snap a shot, but then probably would have felt horrable for not stopping it. And my fiancee probably would have beat me with a stick afterwards...
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 8:45 PM   #6
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What lens are you using btw? Images seem to look fantastic in your album.
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 10:57 PM   #7
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UniSonBBS wrote:
Quote:
What lens are you using btw? Images seem to look fantastic in your album.

I'm using a Sigma EX 50-500 HSM with the Drebel, UnisonBBS

Cheers
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Old Jun 8, 2004, 11:03 PM   #8
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Eric , I thought of that too. I wonder if the parents could scare the snake away. I thought maybe standing 20 feet from the nest, maybe the parents didn't wanted to show where the nest was, so they didnt went there. Apart when one them approach to feed them and at that precise moment I saw the snake climbing and reaching for one of them. Then I shouted like wouldn't believe and I ran trying to catch the snake.

After that I was so mad that I thought, I'll guard it and will catch the evil, no luck...

When I left, all I could think was, I hope the parents will come back soon enough to feed the remainer of the chicks and that snake was well fed enough already with 2 of them in its throat. Its not a big snake, prolly 2 feet long. I don't know if I should go and see the nest (briefly) to see if there's survivors tomorrow, I'll feel terrible if I see the nest empty. They are so young as you can see, the eyes are barely open and they are silent, no noise coming from them.

Thanks everyone , appreciate the comments.
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Old Jun 9, 2004, 12:10 AM   #9
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Eric, same thing happened with me on the first day of photographing the wax wings. I was troubled, as you were, but thought exactly the same thing as yourself, when that big black monster attempted to hid behind thedeadfall in order to get these new birds, it's nature taking care of nature. To hate what's happening would be wrong for sure, because it's all important in ways that we human creatures just don't understand. However, I think it's good that we don't like the snake or the black crow, raven, black demon, whatever it was in the case of my own experience, taking meal on those innocents that we are photographing...but then again maybe that's just our own selfishness and demand that nature respect our wishes. I think nature has a handle on things and love it that you have similar feelings about things that we both have no way of fully understanding. It's nice to have companionship in this though. We humans do some pretty disgusting things as well so I'm even willing to forgive the raven, and sit back and enjoy what the Creator has given us to enjoy, as I know you do as well.
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Old Jun 9, 2004, 12:22 AM   #10
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You were faced with a hard choice. I think you did the right thing. Gj.
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