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Welome to my blog. This is where you'll find my thoughts on images, projects, equipment and all other things photographic.


Of Hoopoes and holes

Working with wild animals, one thing that you soon learn  is that they won't quite do what you want them to.  A family of Hoopoes that I've  photographed for the last couple of years in Koros-Maros National Park, Hungary were no exception to this.

I've been told that the most important consideration when choosing a new home is location, location, location! Sadly, nobody had explained this to the Hoopoes. Eschewing various scenic nesting sites, they had decided to make their home in a secure but decidedly unattractive metal oil drum on a disused airfield. You can see the problem from an image taken last year below...

Photographing the birds at the nest hole was a  a bit disappointing as it's not very tree like. So, in circumstances like these, when the bird won't come to the tree then this year I brought  the tree to the bird. 

The nearby forests have plenty of fallen trees with peeling bark, so I collected a good amount of this. The bark was then screwed onto a wooden frame in which there was a gap for the nest hole. This fake tree should be put in place early in the season, preferably before the birds have nested - Hoopoes had been nesting in the oil drum for several seasons so it was likely that they'd use it again this year, which proved to be the case.

I used a hide set up nearby to photograph the birds at their fake tree and managed to get plenty of photos of them at the hole - the fact that their oil drum had sprouted a bark-covered trunk didn't seem to bother them in the slightest. In fact, they got the best of both worlds - a camouflaged wooden  façade and a predator-proof steel nest.