I like to look for bird behavior in photographing birds and create images that tell a story and can almost speak for themselves. I look for images that will speak to the viewer. Ansel Adams once said, “Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation, and execution.” Similarly, you’ve probably heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
I recently captured an image of an interaction between two house finches. I was interested to see how this image spoke to those who viewed it. I posted it on social media with the simple label, “Caption this.” Here are a few of the responses I got.
(Have a caption idea of your own? We want to hear it! Include it in the comments below.)
- And where were YOU all day, MISTER?!
- What do you mean you thought it was me??? She’s a SPARROW!
- Why are you blushing?!
- I don’t know much about birds, but I can tell which of these is the female.
- Are you even listening?
- Why did you give the kids candy after 8 pm?
- What do you mean they’re out of toilet paper?
- I’ve told you once I’ve told you a million times, no poop in the nest!
- I said, “Take a right!”
- It’s your fault it’s raining again!
- You’re late, Walter! And I saw you staring at that little chickadee at the feeder today. You know she’s a brazen little hussy!
- Where have you been?!? You’ve been down to that Seedy little bar again!
- How many times have I told you…
- You didn’t hear a thing I said!
- You never listen to me!
- I saw you watching the young female cardinal down the street!!
- The Boat House patio was open, and you didn’t take me?
- Don’t “Edith – Edith” me, Archie – this rain stops or I go…!!!
- I’m singing in the rain, Just singing in the rain.
- I thought YOU were sitting with the kids!!
- Do I look fat?
- What do you mean I’m mad as a wet hen
- You bought me a feed block?! I asked you for sunflower seed! You don’t listen to a thing I say…
- Feed me.
What the photo doesn’t say or show is that a moment before I shot it, the male had fed the female a seed. The last couple of responses are on the right track; I think she wanted another seed.
There are many reasons for doing bird photography, but looking for images that capture bird behavior and tell a story can be extra rewarding and fun. Look for interactions between birds, birds being themselves in their environment, or just a bird doing something as simple as taking a bath.
Check out my column in the July/August issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest titled “Why Bird Photography?” for my thoughts about the various purposes for photographing birds.
Check out more of Bruce’s photos
About the Author
Bruce Wunderlich is the production director and a contributing photographer for Bird Watcher’s Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. Bruce’s award-winning photography has also appeared in many state (Ohio) and local (Marietta) publications. Follow Bruce on Instagram @ Bruce_Wunderlich.