I’ve been photographing Quaker Parrots in my home and in the wild since 1996 when we brought Stanley my first Quaker Parrot home from the store and I have enjoyed it so much. Stanley really gave me the inspiration to start taking a lot of bird pictures. Many years earlier, before Jo and I were married, I started taking parrot pictures at Bush Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Back then I only took a few shots since I had film cameras and it was fairly expensive to shoot and process the film for prints. That was in 1972 and 1973.
Fast forward to 1996 when I found my first wild flock of Quaker Parrots while having lunch beach-side in Lauderdale By The Sea. From that point on I fell in love with photographing wild parrots in the South Florida area and set out to find and photograph as many as I could. At that time I was using Olympus OM-1 and OM-2 cameras with autowinders and 300mm lenses and was getting some fair shots. I was still limited in how many pictures I could take because of how far the film processing and printing dollars would take me. And even though I had very powerful Sunpak flashes with me on many shoots I didn’t seem get enough fill light to overcome the South Florida sun and get a good shot. Firing straight up at the birds in a tree against a bright sky usually resulted in disappointing shots.
By 1999 Jo and I were locating many Quaker nests all over South Florida and communice with many other parrot lovers in our area as well as all over the country. We found several special parrot roosts that hundreds of Amazon and Conure Parrots called home and on several occasions we hosted “Parrot Safaris” for friends from all over the country to enjoy as they visited us. Jo and I also became active in partnering with others to rescue Quaker Parrots when FP&L, the power company, decided to destroy the nests to “manage” the population. Eventually FP&L decided to kill the birds to keep them from building nests, that’s a story for another blog.
All those years I was able to take hundreds of pictures of Amazon Parrots, Conures of all species, and my favorite, Quaker Parrots. By 2005 DSLRs were good enough to use and I was able to really increase my photoing capabilities with a Canon Rebel and in June of 2009 I purchased my new SX1 camera. Just a few weeks ago I was able to go ahead and add to my tools a couple sweet Canon flashes, a 550EX and a 580EX II with a “Beamer” lens.
That brings us to this picture. This pair of Quakers were captured during one weekend outing in October 2010 using the SX1 and the new 580EX flash. There are a couple dozen Quakers surrounding them as they all feed late in the afternoon. The flash and beamer really gave me that extra fill light that brings out the colors of these wild birds. The two Quaker parrots just pop out of the picture. Given the Quaker butts in the foreground, the green grass or trees in the background the perfect lighting on the faces, this shot has turned out to be one of my all time favorite wild Quaker shot.
These birds are beautiful and full of character, not to mention food. I hope you enjoy the wild Quaker shots of my favorite birds of all time. Click to see a slide show of extra shots from that particular shoot.