I have been waiting a long time to photograph a Painted Bunting. I finally had the opportunity to do so last week. I went out to the Pedernales Falls State Park bird blind with a friend where we spotted a few male and female painted buntings. The conditions were less than ideal. Thick clouds prevented the sun from shining through so we were not able to optimize our exposure due to the lack of light. So, we both want to return to capture better images as soon as the rain lets up.
The French name of the Painted Bunting, nonpareil, means “without equal,” a reference to the bird’s dazzling plumage. Unfortunately, it’s easy to trap colorful male Painted Buntings by tricking them into attacking decoys. In 1841 John James Audubon reported that “thousands” of the colorful birds were caught every spring and shipped from New Orleans to Europe, where they fetched more than 100 times the price when sold as cage birds. They are still trapped and sold in large numbers in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and to a lesser extent in Florida, despite efforts by conservationists to curb illegal trade.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens set on 400 mm. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/5.6, shutter speed at 1/200th of a second and the ISO set at 1600. This is a single image processed in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro.
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