Feather Your Nest
Chris Fedderson — MacroFine Musings
Orchids and Eagles -- both rare, both beautiful.
Last spring we had a bird build a nest in the underside of our second floor deck that stands over our ground floor patio. I think we had been out of town while the nest building was going on, as the bird didn’t seem to know how much daily activity there was going to be on the patio below, and the deck above, her nest. Our cat routinely dines on the second floor deck and then spends time on the ground floor where she wanders about on her leash or lounges in the patio chair that sits right below the nest. And we do plenty of clomping around on the deck during nice weather.
Once the bird figured this out the nest was abandoned. After many weeks of watching just to be sure no one was using the nest, we decided to remove it and put it to good use.
This winter as I was looking for new ways to create some great studio shots, I pulled the nest out of the box I had it stored in and went to work. This image, “Birth of an Orchid”, is the beginning of my experimentation with something new and different. I thought I’d try to find a way to capture the stunning attributes of orchids in unique ways and in unusual settings. So far I’ve developed a half dozen images of orchids — each displaying a unique aspect of The Orchid. What better way to Feathering Your Nest than with these unusual orchid images.
As I was setting up the photo shoot, I finally examined the nest up close and was fascinated by not only the material but the amount of work that went into this very sturdy nest. It was also heavier than I thought it would be. I believe it’s a Robin’s nest and it’s about 7” across by 3” deep and made with assorted twigs, branches, grasses, leaves, pine needles, and oddly enough, plastic bits. Apparently the Robin also adds mud — made from earthworm poop — to the nest as she is building it to make it sturdy. I’m going to ignore the poop-thing, and still be fascinated by the construction.
Birds are amazing nest builders. Some birds use spider silk as threads for their nests. Some build giant colonies of nests like apartment buildings. A bald eagle builds a nest that is 4-6 feet in diameter and may be just as deep. Imagine what kind of crazy studio set up we could do with that! Look out Anne Geddes!
We live along a highly-trafficked bird migratory route, so we see a huge number of different birds and are continually spotting new species flying near our house. In Huntley Meadows, just a few miles from where we live, over 200 species of birds have been identified frequenting the park. It is a great place to visit, view birds, and see a few nests. Another really exciting development is at the National Arboretum. The Arboretum has a pair of hatchling Bald Eagles this spring for the first time in nearly 70 years! It is a wild eagle pair who are nesting on the grounds, and you can view them on the DC Eagle cam. Hurry, though, before the kids leave home!
Thank You for visiting,
P.s. What unusual pairing of objects not usually associated with each other have you photographed? What have you imagined in your mind’s eye and are looking forward to shooting? Have you seen someone’s work you really admire for its juxtaposition? Share with us in the comments; we’ll trade ideas.
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I am a Virginia-based photographer and gather my images while hiking in parks and natural areas here at home and in the locations I travel to. I also love to visit arboretums and botanic gardens to find unusual and exotic subjects.