As a wildlife photographer, I often find myself watching and waiting for interesting animal behaviors to photograph. If you’ve ever spent time in a backyard or park, you’ve likely seen American Robins busily foraging for worms and insects on the lawn. But recently I witnessed something new – an American Robin with its beak buried deep inside a gopher mound!
Birds may stick their beaks into gopher mounds for the bounty of insects and larvae that live in the soil. While robins usually find plentiful food sources on the lawn, gopher mounds offer a concentrated feast. I was lucky enough to capture a photo of this robin as it foraged with its whole beak submerged in the mound.
In a second photo, the robin seems to have found a small caterpillar on the ground near the mound. So while the gopher mound itself may not have yielded food, the robin was clearly focused on finding any insects it could in the area.
I captured these photos while sitting in my pickup truck focused on photographing another subject – Eastern Bluebirds feeding their young at a nest box I’d installed. I had my camera and lens carefully positioned on a bean bag draped over the open window of the truck. This allowed me to quickly capture the robin when it landed nearby.
Part of photography is patience and preparation. You never know when an interesting wildlife moment will unfold, so being ready to capture any subject is key. While I didn’t intentionally set up to photograph robins, the experience serves as a good reminder to always be alert and ready with my camera!
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D
- Lens: Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM
- Location: My Yard (Arkansas)
- Date Taken: August 15, 2014
- Aperture Priority
- Aperture: f5.0
- Shutter speed: 1/500 sec. and 1/640 on second photo
- ISO: 800
- Exposure Compensation: -1/3 EV
- Focal Length: 500 mm