Tag Archives: feathers

Yellow Bird: Portrait Of A Curious Cockatiel

I recently visited a bird aviary where they housed a wonderful choice of small parakeets, cockatiels, and various lovebirds.   The enclosure was large enough for a small walking path to make a nice circle around some low-lying branches and trees that the park had put in place so the birds could be seen up close.

This female cockatiel broke away from her little group on a nearby low branch to check me out. She seemed a little more than passively curious about my camera. I’m thinking she may have seen her reflection in the lens and thought I was another bird to come and say hello.Yellow Bird

In any case, I learned that the common grey male cockatiels are almost all grey, and only the females seem to sport about in colored splendor. The crest on the back of her head acts almost like a mood ring of sorts. Owners of these splendid birds will tell you that when the crest is vertical they are either excited or curious.

It’s when that crest goes flat against the head that you should begin to worry about that sharp little beak. I’m told this will only happen when they feel threatened. The most common cause is either having a child trying to pet them on their head, or another aggressive bird nearby will cause some problems.

Generally, the most unfortunate aspect of this bird variety is the noise they produce.  While they are nowhere near as loud as a full-sized parrot, they don’t seem to come with a mute button.

But when it comes to portraits, these little beauties see to love the attention.  Once my little friend finished her close up, she flew off back to her small group with little effort.  I don’t know if I satisfied her brief curiosity, but she certainly left a happy portrait.

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On Display: The Peacocks of Greenhill School

I recently spent a morning at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas to take pictures of the elegant peacocks that live on their campus.  These peacocks have run free on the campus for many generations.  While the official mascot of Greenhill is the hornet, the campus treats the peacocks as unofficial mascots of the school.

Tail Cascade
Tail Cascade

The springtime weather makes photographic opportunities with the peacocks a rather tenuous situation.  If the wind is howling in from the plains the peacocks have a hard time displaying their train feathers.  Yet they are in the middle of mating season and the hens are walking about.   In fact, it is quite surprising how loud a peacock call is.

I visited the campus on a windy day, concerned that the peacocks would not display their tail feathers.   Luckily, the peacock that I managed to find was cruising around in between two buildings and was fairly protected from the wind.  The peahens continued walking about and fortunately a class change poured hundreds of students into their area.  The students are very respectful of the peacocks and they receive constant  human interaction, but peacocks still like to avoid contact when possible.

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The class change resulted in the hens walking right by a peacock. When he saw the peahens, he let out a cry and started doing the mating dance that peacocks are so famous for. Contrary to popular belief, peacocks don’t just stand still when they are displaying.  There is dancing, shaking, shimmering, head movement and a 360 degree slow turn involved with the full extension of his feathers.

The results of the dance speak for themselves.

In Full Glory
In Full Glory