Wednesday, July 31, 2013

About the Birds and the Bees....the Pollinators

The 'birds and the bees' and the 'flowers and the trees' can have multiple meanings, depending on who you ask.  For nature photographers (and gardeners), they represent amazing wonders to be shared.

Lunching Goldfinch image
 Nikon 5100 55-300mm
Let's start with our birds.  They need protein-rich foods that come from seeds and insects.  When we plant native flowers and trees we are supporting and sustaining their food chain.   Learn more about Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants through the website and informational book.

The female goldfinch pictured to the right efficiently uses the thistle-seed for nutrition and the thistledown (soft fibers) for nesting material.  Thistle flowers are a beautiful, vibrant purple and their downy material provides wonderful, artful interest in the fall.  If you like goldfinches - plant thistle in your garden!

You and the birds will be rewarded with a frenzy of cheerful, colorful activity.  Since their food and nesting source blooms later in the season, you may also have another round of bird families in your own personal habitat.

Little bluebird of happiness, Nikon 70 - 300mm

Eastern bluebirds enjoy insects and
invertebrates. 2/3 of their diet comes from grasshoppers, crickets, katydids and beetles.  The other 1/3 is made up of wild fruits.  Pesticides, insecticides can take away their food sources quickly.

For additional insight into habitat trends and planting native plants visit Saving Birds Thru Habitat, where Kay Charter and the volunteer group live by example in "Helping to improve habitat for migrating birds one backyard at a time."

And now for our precious, life-sustaining bees.  There are many described species of native bees that pollinate wildflowers and crops.  The bad news is that the population, the honey-bee in particular, is on a serious decline.  The global impact to crop growers and ultimately consumers is and will continue to be costly.  National Geographic's article The Plight of the Honeybee shares our current state and actions being taken.

Honeybee savoring breakfast on spring morning
Nikon 105mm

There's a website where you can learn more about these colorful pollinators and how you can help including planting native plants in your garden and neighborhoods: Also, check out 18 different species of bees on this Identifying Native Bees Poster.

Sweet Sweat Bee enjoying a native Chicory flower
Nikon 600 105mm
Nature photographers have the privilege of sharing birds, animals and insects in action.

Skills of patience, discipline, creativity and anticipation of the 'next move' are crucial for images that pull the viewer in to the environment.  

Before we capture an image, the fundamental element, our environment must be managed and protected by all of us.  Let's all do our part and plant native plants this summer and fall.