The Northern Shrike is a predatory song bird, feeding on small birds, insects, and rodents. The Northern Shrike is a resident of Northern Canada for most of the year and migrates to the United States during the winter months.
Northern Shrike are difficult to see and photograph. They are wary, solitary birds. This shrike only gave me a few seconds to photograph before flying off. I also saw him a second time but he didn’t stay long enough for me to get a shot.
To photograph scarce birds like this Northern Shrike, follow local birding groups. Birding groups often have forums, Facebook pages, and email digests. The birding group members will usually post their findings, especially if the bird is a rarity.
I located this Northern Shrike by following a local birding group. Not only did the group tell me the park where the shrike was located, they also gave pretty decent specifics of where the bird was seen in the park.
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 500mm f/4 lens with 1.4x III telephoto extender
Focal Length: 700mm
Shutter Speed: 1/2500 of a second
Exposure Compensation: +2/3
Lighting: Sunny Morning. The bird was a bit side lit causing the shadows on its head and back.
- Cropped the photo and lightened the shadows in Lightroom 5.
- Cleaned up some branches in the photo by using the Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop CC 2014.
- Added contrast and pop to the photo by using the Fur and Feathers I filter in Topaz Clarity.
- Used Viveza 2 to selectively lighten the darken the image.
- Applied the Lighten/Darken Center Filter in Color Efex Pro 4.
- Selectively removed noise from the photo using Topaz DeNoise.
- Selectively sharpened the photo using the Unsharp Mask Filter in Photoshop CC 2014.
Written by Martin Belan