In my Arkansas yard, I captured a stunning image of a female Eastern Bluebird with a large spider, which she had collected for her young. Interestingly, birds prefer spiders over other insects as they contain a higher concentration of taurine – an amino acid that enhances growth, intelligence, reduces anxiety, and improves vision, according to Kathryn Arnold, an ornithologist at the University of Glasgow.
I’m fortunate enough to have a 2-acre yard with three nesting boxes specifically designed for Bluebirds. However, I can only ever accommodate one nesting pair at a time due to their territorial nature during breeding season. I’m never quite sure which box will be used, but sometimes, I’m lucky enough to have two broods. Bluebirds can have up to three broods, but I’ve only ever experienced two.
I always clean the nesting box out after each brood leaves, and sometimes the pairs will build a second nest on top of the first or in a new location. I’m always left wondering if the same Bluebirds return to my nesting boxes every year, as they can live for up to a decade.
To capture this particular image, I had set up my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup truck. The lens I used was a Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II, with my camera set to aperture priority mode (AV) and a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second at f5.6 and the ISO at 800. I had also enabled single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering and set the white balance on auto.
If you’re interested in seeing more of my Eastern Bluebird photography setup, you can find it here: My Eastern Bluebird Photography Setup. The birds are accustomed to my vehicle, which makes photographing them from inside the pickup a breeze.