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Crater Lake's Nutcracker

Crater Lake's Nutcracker
Photo Information
Copyright: Lori Cannon (LCannon) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 374 W: 137 N: 804] (3107)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-06
Categories: Birds
Camera: Kodak Easyshare LS753
Exposure: f/8, 1/350 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-08-11 15:44
Viewed: 3944
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I found this little darling on our trip to Crater Lake National Park this week. He sat so still looking at me to decide just how close he was going to let me come. I was "good" and didn't feed the birds or the squirrels, although this little guy was sure tempting to share a few nuts with.

From the NPS web site:

Visitors to the rim of Crater Lake can experience something special that was noted by the Lewis and Clark expedition nearly 200 years ago. When the Voyage of Discovery came to a place called Lemhi Pass in the Bitterroot Mountains (along the border of present-day Montana and Idaho), William Clark recorded the following in his journal on August 22, 1805:

"I saw today a Bird of the woodpecker kind which fed on Pine Burs---its bill and tale white, the wings black, every other part of a light brown, and about the size of a robin."

This entry is the earliest known written description of a Clark's nutcracker and the whitebark pine. The nutcrackers and whitebarks still live at Lemhi Pass. A few of the pine trees may even be the same individuals that bore witness to Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery; others may have been planted by the very birds the explorers were watching.

Clark's nutcrackers are certainly popular with visitors to the rim of Crater Lake. This bold crow marked with gray, black, and white contributes as much entertainment to their experiences as the golden-mantled ground squirrels. The nutcrackers especially favor peanuts and collect as many as visitors will provide despite the "no feeding" regulation. Any nuts not promptly consumed by the birds are placed into storage caches for winter food, This caching behavior is the same as nutcrackers employ with whitebark pine seeds when the trees produce sufficient quantities of cones. Mature whitebark pine cones do not open, and the foraging nutcracker is the pine's primary seed dispersal agent.

From Wikipedia:
The Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), is a large passerine bird, in the family Corvidae. It is slightly smaller than its Eurasian relative Spotted Nutcracker (N. caryocatactes). It is ashy-grey all over except for the black-and-white wings and central tail feathers (the outer ones are white). The bill, legs and feet are also black.

Clark's Nutcracker at Crater Lake, Oregon, Mount Hood, Oregon, Sulphur Mountain, Banff National Park, and can be seen in western North America from British Columbia and western Alberta in the north to Baja California and western New Mexico in the south. There is also a small isolated population on the peak of Cerro Potosí, elevation 3,700 metres (12,200 ft), in Nuevo León, northeast Mexico. It is mainly found in mountains at altitudes of 900–3,900 metres (3,000–12,900 ft) in pine forest.

Evelynn, vanderschelden, Argus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Evelynn Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2025 W: 741 N: 3285] (14454)
  • [2007-08-11 16:25]
  • [2]

How nice of this fellow to pose in front of the lake. If the head had been in front of the blue it would have been even more striking. Because the tippy top of the far rim is cut off I think I would be tempted to crop off all of the sky as the white clouds draw attention away from the bird. I'd crop the top and then some off the right side so that the birds wouldn't be so centered. It's a nice capture though with good saturated color and sharpness on the subject.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2007-08-11 18:03]

Hi Lori. Perfect backdrop for this one. It would be a good one to blow into poster size i am sure. Good clarity and especially good DOF. TFS. Murray.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-08-11 21:16]

Hello Lori,
This brings back memories.
I remember driving that long and windy road into Crater Lake last summer. We finally arrived at the rim by sunset. I saw those birds, which I had never seen before, and I was very excited. I took a whole bunch of pictures, but none of them came out because of the low light. I was so disappointed.
I am glad you got such a clear capture of one. They were indeed very bold, if I remember correctly.
Good light and details on this special bird against the backdrop of his special habitat.
TFS. : )

We can see from the similarity in colour between the plumage and the surrounding landscape that this bird is superbly camouflaged for it's environment. The colours are almost perfectly matched.
I like how you've shown us this wider view of the lanscape along with the bird. It gives a good idea of the bird's habitat and makes for a more interesting image than a close-up of the bird would have been. Still, I think using a wider aperture would have improved the shot, isolating the bird from the background a bit more.
Other than that, it works very well.
Good work Lori.


Hi Lori,
Extraordinary image; looks a bit like an image you take from friends or family while you are on vacation when you want to phtograph them together with the background.
Very good decisive moment...

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-08-12 6:32]

Hello Lori,
fine portrait of Clark's Nutcracker. You caught him pretty sharply and he stands out well enough against the fine scenery of Crater Lake, but if you wanted to emphasize him more you might have reduced the aperture value down to 5.6, therby increasing the speed and making the BG more blurred.
But I guess you wanted both the bird and the BG to be fairly clear.
Whatever, its is very nice shot and thanks for sharing it.

Hi Lori
Very nice shot of this little guy. And I like the BG he is in.
Well done

Very nice composition!
This image almost looks 3D!


Hello Lori,
This is amazing shot of Nutcracker against excellent scenic BG. The details of the bird are superb & sharp. TFS good informative notes too.

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