tirsdag 7. august 2012

A LESSON IN ECOLOGICAL EVOLUTION


D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 200 mm, f4,0, 1/400, +0,33, ISO 1600

Photographers that do nest photography on "shyer birds" have a huge responsibility for the wellbeing of the birds documented. I am not a fan of this approach myself and normally it is not included in my "workflow". I`m not saying that I don`t do it, but if I do I consider the risk of possible damage seriously, and as well : I would normally not flash / blog these shots afterwards. However, with my friend Erkka in Finland I was given the possibility study family life of the common buzzard (musvåk / Buteo buteo), and after a serious consideration of the situation, I decided to accept the chance given. The drama exposed to me on the second day in the hide was a serious lesson in ecological evolution, so : my intention of showing you these shots is not primarily to start a discussion on nest photography in general, but the documentation of the drama is interesting and has rarely been documented like this before.

It is a well known fact among chickens of raptors and owls that there is a considerable difference in age & size in the nest and that the bigger ones often kill the smaller to ensure their own survival. I sat in 3 days in a small box-hide 7-8 m above ground. There was seemingly an abundance of food brought to the nest by the parents dayly (I saw mice, bird chicks & frogs). There was 2 buzzard chicks i the nest (Erkka said originally 3, but the smallest one had "disappeared"), and on my second day I witnessed how this happens : 

Suddenly the bigger chick attacks the smaller, grabbing it by the neck and then picking towards "Little Brothers" head. With serious and continuous dedication it kept going for 2 full hours. In the battle"Little Brother" had his head all covered in blood and as well an eye picked out, until it was finally finished. When Mama comes along with more food, she steps over the dying chick that has been pushed to the edge of the nest (I could see it was still breathing), and feeds and warms the bigger. 

Next day "Little brother" was gone, it was not under the tree, I do not think that the adult birds had taken it away, so : probably eaten. Nothing is lost in a buzzards menu. In ecological evolution 2 things matter more than anything else : 
First survival, then reproduction
It`s jungle out there !!!     


The first attack : the bigger chick grabbing the smaller by the neck 
D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/250, +0,33, ISO 1600


The picking kept on continuously .....without stop
D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/500, +0,33, ISO 1600


D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/500, ISO 1600


The bigger chick standing over the smaller and the first blood appears on the beak
D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/1000, ISO 1600


The smaller tries to protect itself by laying the back & using the claws. The bigger tries to eat whatever it can take out of the smaller
D3s, 600 4,0, f6,3, 1/400, ISO 800 


The blood is now covering most of the smaller chicks head
D3s, 600 4,0, f6,3, 1/320, ISO 800


D3s, 600 4,0, f6,3, 1/400, ISO 800


D3s, 600 4,0, f6,3, 1/400, ISO 1000


D3s, 600 4,0, f6,3, 1/400,ISO 1000


The adult bird bringing more food. The dead chicken can be seen to the left.
D3s, 600 4,0, f6,3, 1/320, ISO 1000


D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/400, +0,33, ISO 1000


D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/400, +0,33, ISO 1000


This prey seems to be a black grouse chicken (orrfuglkylling)
D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/400, +0,33, ISO 1000 


The adult bird warms the surviving chick
D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/320, +0,33, ISO 1000

On my third day in the hide I had a sudden and powerful thunderstorm. The blast was tremendous !! Not "deep and far away", but sharp & extremely loud !! The flash and the blast at the very same moment. My tree was shaking and I could smell the electric burn !! I have never been afraid of thunder before, but here I found myself 7 - 8 meters up in a tree, inside a metal frame, on top of a metal ladder .... I realized I could fry like a slice of bread in an electric toaster !!! My first reaction was to climb down immediately, but by doing so I knew I would ruin my chances with the buzzards. 

A new blast, just like the first one ..... I was still raw.....  I closed my eyes and said to myself : 

"You have always been a lucky guy .... it will pass !!"

...and it did. 


The "electric toaster" !!
D3s, 24-70 2,8 / 24 mm, f8,0, 1/320, +1,33, ISO 1000


The surviving chick after the thunderstorm
D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, +0,33, ISO 2000

32 kommentarer:

  1. Denne gangen nytter jeg anledningen til å legge inn den første kommentaren sjøl. Jeg har vært veldig usikker på om jeg skulle publisere reirbilder av rovfugl, dette er noe jeg vanligvis unngår, og jeg ønsker virkelig ikke å stå fram som "reirfotografen". Jeg har imidlertid rådspurt meg med flere klolleger både i og utenfor NN, og tilbakemeldingene har vært entydige : "Dette er en interessant dokumentasjon, dette MÅ du bare publisere". Jeg garanterer at musvåkene ikke tok skade av mitt nærvær.

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  2. Uff!!!..shocking pictures!!!.. Regard..

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  3. Hei Tom

    Livet er tøft å hverdagen brutal noe som kommer godt frem i bildeserien.
    Skal jeg plukke et så blir det nummer 11 hvor den ser uskyldig vekk fra den brutale handlingen den har utført når en av foreldrene har ankommet.

    Når jeg tenker på de flotte buorm bildene og ser på det nest siste bilde her så er det passene å si at du henter dine blinkskudd høyt og lavt:)

    Mvh Rune

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  4. Flott serie Tom :) Tror det er foten til broren som er i nebbet. Har aldri sett en orrfugl med gule bein.

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  5. What an incredibly interesting read Tom. Tremendous work and it's fascinating to witness this behaviour through your lens. Love the toaster!

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  6. Sterk dokumentasjon. Selv om fenomenet er velkjent, gjør det inntrykk å se råskapen skildret på denne måten.

    Debatten om reirfoto er for øvrig både dogmatisk og prinsippløs. Vi kan ta den i sin fulle bredde en annen gang, men min kortversjon er at den skaden man eventuelt gjør med sitt nærvær i naturen langt på vei er uavhengig av hva man inkluderer i bildet. Reirfotografer som er avhengig av naturlig adferd hos motivet er sånn sett langt mindre skumle enn blomsterfotografer som ustraffet kan gi blaffen i panisk varslende hekkefugl.

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  7. Takk for at du valgte å dele denne fantastiske serien med oss Tom. Et innblikk i naturens råskap, utrolig bra formidlet.

    Knut Børge

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  8. Flott historie! Jeg er ganske sikker på at det er kannibalisme ute å går på bilde 14, man ser jo de lange klørne/kloa og fargene stemmer vel bra. Rått!

    For øvrig imponert over at du holdt ut tordenværet, det hørtes livstruende ut...hvor mye er egentlig noen bilder verd? :O)

    Ha en fin dag!

    mvh Espen

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  9. Jeg forundres og facineres over naturens råskap. Hvorfor er vi mennesker fylt med en samvitighet, mens man i fugleverdenen spiser ut øynene på sin bror - uten en reaksjon fra mor? Det er merkelige greier...

    Samtidig er det også merkelig at man nå kan leie seg skjul ved lomreiret, våkreiret, ørnereiret og på leikplasser. Det forteller vel litt om den råskap som feier inn over naturfotomiljøet? Jeg bare forundres... Det er merkelige greier!

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  10. Sterk dokumentasjon av et velkjent fenomen mesterlig foreviget av en av våre fremste 'wildlife' fotografer.
    mvh
    kjell-erik moseid

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  14. Uvanlig og god fotodokumentasjon fra naturens brutale virkelighet. Her er det bildeserien av hendelsesforløpet som samlet løfter bildene til det helt spesielle.

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  15. Fy tusan...naturen är grym...nästan så man mår fysiskt illa av de dramatiska bilderna. Ett stycke naturdramatik av bästa märke som inte många kunna dokumentera tror jag tidigare.

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  16. Et sterkt dokumentert, slik er jo naturensgang. Alltid den sterkeste overlever. Jeg tror på at du har gjort dette meget forsvarlig Tom. Det beste var at du ikke ble grillet kylling.

    :) duy

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