European Starling, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada by Barbara Levy

Usually in the fall, here on Salt Spring Island, I like to keep an eye on the fruit and berries ripening so that I can capture my bird buddies feasting in the trees. And early in September, while I was in our village Ganges, I happened to catch a glimpse of a flock of striking starlings — the pretty plunderers of the pear tree which stands alone on the boardwalk next to the inner harbour. I quickly grabbed my camera with its telephoto lens out of the car and went to take some photos of these very feisty birds, after which I made a mental note to myself to go back to that spot again in the next few days when the light was better.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning when I caught this portrait shot of one of the braver starlings, who dove right in front of me. Many of the starlings stayed hidden behind the leaves while they pecked at the juicy pears, but this one starling hopped from branch to branch until he reached the lowest part of the tree where the pears dangled enticingly just above the water. In order to get my handsome subject and his gorgeous outstretched wings in the frame, I had to back up, sit on the ground and lean back as far as I could as I was aiming right between the horizontal slats of the fence. I’m so glad my starling gave me lots of opportunities to capture him (and I’m also glad I made a point of limbering up before heading out that day)!

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