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Digging a Home

Digging a Home
Photo Information
Copyright: John Plumb (JPlumb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-09-29
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, AF-S VR Micro Nikkor 105mm w/ TC20EII
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/180 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2008-04-15 18:30
Viewed: 3950
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
My wife and I were walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney and came across a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) standing by a hole in the ground, with dirt flying out of the hole, please see Workshop 1. I had never seen anything like this, so I stopped to investigate. After a while, the Cockatoo standing by the side of the hole got in to help its mate with the digging, please see Workshop 2. The original shot you see here was taken when one of the Cockatoos took a break to have a look around.

I couldn’t find anything in the literature about Cockatoos digging a nest in the ground. Most sources talk about how they build a nest in a hollow high in a tree. There was one very brief mention in one article that said they would find a hole in the side of a cliff. It sure looked to me though that these two were digging a home.

Some more background can be found here: www.austmus.gov.au/factsheets/sulphur_crested_cockatoo.htm.
ID from: Simpson K. and Day N. (2004), Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Penguin Books, Camberwell

Workflow for this shot was as follows:
The shoot – shot in Raw with Jpeg reference (210 mm ISO 400 f5.6 1/180)
NEF file adjusted for exposure, shadow, vignetting, brightness and contrast
Levels – adjusted for white and black points – periphery masked
Curves - adjusted RGB for contrast – very slight s-curve – periphery masked
Dodged and Burned with overlay layer (5% opacity white and black)
Added saturation layer +20 to master – periphery masked
Saved as a tiff
for this post slight crop, resized, created a new layer, selectively sharpened through use of a mask layer, framed and saved as a jpeg.

rousettus, sranjan, Jamesp, pablominto, tomcezar, inked, Argus, marhowie, Adanac, SkyF, rcrick, jusninasirun, mlines, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To jusninasirun: Auto FocusJPlumb 1 04-17 19:11
To Adanac: Neat to ReturnJPlumb 1 04-16 15:27
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello John,
Amazing shot & unique behaviour of this bird. Was it too hot? TFS.

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-04-15 22:54]

Hi John

Great POV - you have really captured the essence of a cockatoo hee. The eye is perfect.


Hello John,
Ahhh, I recognize this fellow!
Didn't know they made their homes in the ground though...
DoF works well with sharp focus on the bird!
Pablo -

Hi John,

Interesting picture, with interesting subject. I didn't know these things about the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. Thank you for this.

All best regards, Cezar T.

  • Great 
  • inked Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 132 W: 0 N: 249] (771)
  • [2008-04-16 1:32]

hi John,
what an excellent shot! i've never seen anything like it either, or heard of for that matter. the pov and composition is great, with perfect focus on his eye as he's peeking out.. love it! tfs

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-04-16 4:01]

Hello John,
This is something I didn't know either but this fine capture of a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo digging a hole in the ground must be evidence that the ground is also used for nesing purposes!
Great POV and sharpness and thanks for sharing this fine image and the knowledge that it imparts,

What a great set of shots John!..I feel dirty now somehow ;}
The POV of this digger is Excellent, with the cockatoos eye peakin' over the holes edge at the viewer.
Fantastic post showing this behavior, never seen this before.
Well done!

Hello John,
Now this is really fastinating, what a neat experience. All three images are great, combining to show this behavior. It would be neat to return to see if they actually nest there. Well seen and documented John, thanks for sharing.

Hi John,
I saw many photographs and documentary films of famous parrots of Australia, Cacatua. Even some domesticated or petshop specimens. But your shot shows different behaviour from I know. Both the post and workshops great shots with beautiful and natural coloration, great sharp details, timing and composition. Thanks for sharing. best wishes

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2008-04-16 12:09]

Hi John,
quite the interesting behavior you witnessed. I must say if not for the pictures its hard to believe;-).
The action is very nicely documented in this and the workshop pictures.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-04-16 19:39]

Hi John,
Wonderful shot and a great moment freezed. You present a very interesting phenomenon today and a curious one too. Very impressive sharpness and colours with perfect lighting and spot-on focus. That eye looks gorgeous and expressive. Excellent POV and composition. Kudos.

Hey John,

Well your teaching me something I never new about Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, amazing! I can understand birds taking a dust bath, and some smaller birds making a nest in the ground, but one of these guys wow, great shot love the eye contact,

Cheeers Rick :)

Hello John. I like this shot and the other two in the workshop. You have focused very well on the eye looking very prominent in that hole. The white plumage making it contrasting well with the burrow. Just wondering if you are using manual focusing here as the fg is well blurred in eliminating the distraction. Well done and best regards. Jusni

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-04-17 18:45]

Hello John

Just marking the post for now


  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2008-05-08 18:12]

Hi John, This is an interesting thing for these cockies to do. All 3 photos tell a good story. Guess they will become gruby doing this and have a swim later to clean up. Great contribution. Murray.

Hi John,

The sulfur crested cockatoo digging in the ground is impressive. The point of view is showing the action of the bird. The surrounding light is enhancing the colors. Well done, have a nice day.


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