Great-horned Owl Nest – Carondelet Park 2020

March 2020 seems so long ago. Back at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, when we were all getting used to social distancing, I remember watching this nest with a few other photographers. I only made it to the park on a few days and unfortunately did not cover much of the course of the two chicks’ development. But what little time I did have with them I managed to capture a lot of interesting behavior. I’m sorry if this one is a little long, but I had a hard time cutting things out. Scenes where mom and the chicks are looking horizontally or up and mom is giving her best defensive display was in response to a pair of Canada Geese that would sometimes buzz the nest, apparently interested in potentially taking over that prized knot hole for their own nest. Then there is another sinister enemy that I won’t spoil for you… 😉

I hope you will find this as entertaining as I do.


It’s Officially Spring!

Blackburnian Warbler, Carondelet Park, May 2017

Along with finding the typical rarities that everyone looks for during spring migration, I will not count spring as arriving until I lay eyes on a male Blackburnian Warbler.  This past Saturday, not only did Miguel and I find my prize at Carondelet Park, but I got my best photos to date of this tree-top dwelling, piece of greased lighting.

Blackburnian Warbler, Carondelet Park, May 2017

With a throat this bright and luminous, a song that is so high-pitch that dogs aren’t safe for blocks and a never resting habit, more than one birder has assumed these guys must be powered by a battery.  Seriously, there’s a reason these guys eat all day long.  They have to!

Blackburnian Warbler, Carondelet Park, May 2017

Well, hopefully I might have another before the season has completed springing.  If not, I’ll always have something to look forward to next year.


For Bill Rudden…

Dedicated to Bill Rudden, a St. Louis City based birder and bird photographer who passed away recently.  I took this image of one of Carondelet Park’s Red-tailed Hawks on the day I met Bill for the first time.  We had some good conversation that day while looking for the Crossbills that were visiting.  I’m sorry I didn’t get know him better.


Mondays are for the Birds – Red-tailed Hawk

Today’s photo is one of the Red-tailed Hawks that make a home in St. Louis’ Carondelet Park.  This is indeed, a wild bird.  Of course Sarah was with me on a Sunday when we arrived here looking to photograph some of the Crossbills that visited us this year.  While keeping my eyes peeled on the hemlocks for the Crossbills, I heard Sarah whisper, “Do yourself a favor and slowly look up”.  I did and found this hawk perched ~15″ from me!  Even once it discovered I was there it did not flush immediately but stayed and looked around a while.

Oh yeah, the MO chapter of The Nature Conservancy has prepared a slide show containing some of my bird photographs along with some pathetic creature.  Please feel free to have a look by clicking: Missouri Birds: Images From Bill Duncan


“Happy Birds!”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 640,  f/5.6, 1/320 sec

“It is delightful to observe the assembling of these feathered people from the woods and reedy isles; herons white as wave tops, or blue as the sky, winnowing the warm air on wide quite wing; pelicans coming with baskets to fill, and the multitude of smaller sailers of the air, swift as swallows, gracefully taking their places at Nature’s family table for their daily bread.  Happy birds!”

-John Muir-

Swoop of a Hawk

“The outstanding characteristic of perception is that it entails no consumption and no dilution of any resources.  The swoop of a hawk, for example, is perceived by one as the drama of evolution.  To another it is only a threat to the full frying-pan.  The drama may thrill a hundred successive witnesses; the threat only one – for he responds with a shotgun.”

-Aldo Leopold-


“Red-tailed Hawk”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 640,  f/8, 1/1000 sec