A Dead Chick & The Frantic Mother
Photographing young chicks being feed by mommy bird is one of the favorite thing for wildlife photographers. The fist task for this is to locate a nest without disturbing the surrounding. This is obviously the hardest part. I've been searching for one such nest ever since I bought first telephoto lens, a 300mm Nikkor. But I never found one that are suitable for photographing. I've seen nest high on tall tree, or deep inside a bush where light is not enough. So it remained in my wish list.
However, this summer I was lucky to spot one when I visited my sister's home in India. Though it was high at the tip of a mango branch, I got a clear view of the nest from the roof. There were 2 grown up Myna chicks, just learning to fly. I was happy and took my first few shots, determined to get up early next morning to shoot the feeding.
|Happy Time; 2 chicks playing together outside the nest|
Two much excitement can meet with a brutal shock. That's what exactly happened to me when I woke up next morning and went to the roof top to shoot the feeding at dawn. I found one of the chicks hanging from the nest, already dead from strangulation. And the frantic mother were relentlessly trying to free it. When her strength would run out, she would fly into the nest at the top, exchange few bird talk with the other chick and then come down to try to free her baby again. She continued her effort while I kept on clicking the shutter. It was heart breaking for me to watch this. However, the nest was beyond my reach to help. When the mother finally won her battle with the weed, the chick fell to the ground below, would not move at all. That's when she probably realized, her baby was gone. She flew back to her nest to console the other chick. I could not shoot the last few minutes as my hand froze while I watched the saddest part of the event. Here, I still got 187 pictures that would depicts the effort of the mommy bird. The best way to view this would be in the lightbox. Just click on the first image and look for the right arrow when the light box comes up. You should be able to browse at your convenient speed in the light box.