Nest-protection project leads to stop-action flight photo

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), Talamanca Mountains, Costa Rica, May 15, 2015, 10:48 a.m., by Juan Carlos Vindas
Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), Talamanca Mountains, Costa Rica, May 15, 2015, 10:48 a.m., by Juan Carlos Vindas

Communities in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica, southeast of the capital San José, take the protection of their most spectacular bird, the Resplendent Quetzal, seriously. To ensure that no one interferes with breeding, all visitors to known nests must be accompanied by a local guide, and each photographer or birder must pay a small fee to the guide and the property owner, to benefit the local economy.

Juan Carlos Vindas
Juan Carlos Vindas

That’s how photographer Juan Carlos Vindas was able to make this extraordinary image. Working inside a blind about 100 feet (30 meters) from a nest last May, he had a front-row seat as a pair of quetzals took turns provisioning their chicks. The birds swapped places every 20 minutes or so, Vindas says, returning with insects, larvae, crushed aguacatillos (a wild avocado plant), or other food items. His photo shows the male.

Vindas, of San José, has led birding and photography tours and workshops in Costa Rica and Ecuador since 2006. He has seen more than 750 of his home country’s 906 species. He picks up BirdWatching at bookstores and shares his photos in both our website’s galleries and our Flickr group.

Vindas used the following equipment and settings:

Camera: Canon EOS Mark IV
Lens: Canon 600mm f/4
Settings: 1/1000, f/4, ISO 1600, manual mode
Light: Natural
Format: JPG

A version of this article appeared in the February 2016 issue of BirdWatching magazine. 

 

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