Photo by Kathrin Swoboda/Audubon Photography Awards
Category: Amateur Species
Location: Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia.
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 2500
Story Behind the Shot: I visit this park near my home to photograph blackbirds on cold mornings, often aiming to capture the “smoke rings” that form from their breath as they sing out.
On this occasion, I arrived early on a frigid day and heard the cry of the blackbirds all around the boardwalk.
This particular bird was very vociferous, singing long and hard.
I looked to set it against the dark background of the forest, shooting to the east as the sun rose over the trees, backlighting the vapour.
Bird Lore: Red-winged Blackbirds are some of the most abundant and conspicuous birds in North America.
Beginning in early spring, males perch above marshes, pond edges, damp fields, and roadside ditches, flaring their red shoulder patches and belting out arresting songs to announce their claims to breeding territories.