A Bird in the Hand



This is not my usual type of photography. I’m the black sheep of the nature photography club that I belong to cuz I just. don’t. shoot. birds. Ever. But THIS day was different. This day I went to like The Greatest Place on Earth. 


The Elizabeth Morton Wildlife Refuge out on the east end of Long Island. The website is very blah (sorry fws.gov but really) and in no way prepares you for the magical day that awaits you at the refuge. 


The birds. They Land Right On You. They eat right out of your hand! Like, we were barely out of the parking area and just stopped to look at a little kiosk w directions and information and we had birds fluttering around going PUT THE SEEDS IN YOUR HANDS, DUMMIES! WE’RE A SURE THING!!! And we did, and BAM, they’d take turns dive-bombing out of the trees, landing on our hands, pecking around for the best seeds (sunflower seeds is a favorite), then returning to the tree so the next one could come down. 


Little teeny chickadees and fluffy-headed (or something like that) woodpeckers, and tufted titmice (titmouses?), and something else we dubbed The No Neck Bird. There were bigger birds around, BlueJays and Cardinals, etc…they stayed in the trees and brambles…but the wild turkeys! They’d come out of the woods and follow you down a path to eat out of your hand! Their feathers were amazing close-up, iridescent almost. 


So, I know in “real” nature photography, you’re not supposed to show “the hand of man,” but I love having pictures of the birds in our hands! 

I’m such a rebel.

But yeah, if you’re on Long Island, and you’ve never been, go. I understand it’s better in the cold weather cuz the birds are looking for food. In the summer and fall there’s enough food for them to find on their own and they may not be as apt to land in your hand for the offered seed. But go. 

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