Magnolia Warbler Hover-gleaning

hover-glean: when prey is gleaned from a surface while the foraging bird is airborne
A Field Guide to Warblers of North America


I’ve been trying my hand at bird photography recently, and I’ve learned one major thing – it’s hard. Somehow, I don’t think that will come as a revelation to anyone. Many of the pictures I’ve taken are, at the very least, identifiable as to what species it depicts. But sharp focus is still a very elusive prey. And I still don’t know enough about the camera and photographic principles to make needed adjustments to the settings.

But even so, you can still get lucky sometimes. I was trying to capture a Magnolia Warbler at the end of a branch, when it started hover-gleaning. I was actually able to get several pictures in-flight, and even though they aren’t in perfect focus, I think they’re my favorite shots to date.

Magnolia Warbler hover-gleaning 1

Magnolia Warbler hover-gleaning 2

Magnolia Warbler hover-gleaning 3

Magnolia Warbler hover-gleaning 4

Magnolia Warbler hover-gleaning 5

The funny thing is that I had no idea the warbler actually nabbed something until I was reviewing the pictures!

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11 Responses to “Magnolia Warbler Hover-gleaning”

  1. Mick

    Photography is fun because few of us are ever happy with the photographs we take! It’s a constant learning curve.

  2. Larry Jordan

    These are great action shots of the Magnolia Warbler Grant, especially that last one with the wings spread and the worm in its mouth! You will find many times that you have captured something on film that you didn’t see when shooting the picture. Like Mick said too, it is a constant learning curve. Your photographs will get better and better as you learn.

  3. Grant

    Thanks Mick and Larry, I’m certainly looking forward to practicing it more!

  4. Halcyon

    Lovely shots!

  5. Kelly

    …pretty cool…great stop-action photography!

  6. Mike B.

    Nice shots- and nice job by the warbler in finding that morsel and snatching it!

  7. The Zen Birdfeeder

    Great captures for you AND for the warbler. Lucky to have the opportunity to observe and better yet to capture it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wren

    Nice job, Grant! The light coming through the bird’s wings is particularly nice, but i really like the blur effect in the first one as well.

    I can empathize with the PHOTOGRAPHING BIRDS IS NOT FOR SISSIES feeling – if only the little critters would stand still!

  9. Grant

    Thanks, all. But judging from most of my results thus far, it’s definitely beginner’s luck!

  10. Memorizing Nature

    A suspenseful series. Not sure why, but I really like the second photograph.

  11. Bird Feeders

    Great photographs! The magic of photograph is the ability to freeze these amazing, fleeting moments. Without photography, such moments could never be fully examined, understood, or even appreciated. The verbal description of hover-gleaning is great, but the behavior is best described through your pictures (after all, a picture tells a thousand words…), thanks for sharing!

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