Birds of A Life’s Work

Like most people, birds fascinate me. I’m not a birder, not even close, but I enjoy listening to and looking at them. I also enjoy filming them, when they’ll cooperate, which isn’t often. Working with cats and kids are a cakewalk compared to birds.

Here are some shots the cinematographers of A Life’s Work captured. The first two minutes were shot by Wolfgang Held in Copemish and Manistee, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, and Cordes Junction (Arcosanti), Arizona. I shot the next thirty seconds at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.* Andy Bowley shot the remainder of the clip at the Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, California. There is sound throughout, but it’s very quiet. The first shots were taken from inside looking out, so you won’t hear any chirping or squawking or feather-rustling or nothing.


It was fun putting this clip together and I find it very soothing to watch. I tried to tell a little story with the SETI footage.

What do you make of it? Do you have a favorite shot?

And if any of you birders out there would care to identify some of these beauties, please leave a comment here or on Facebook or send me a direct message. Thanks.

* My lame shots have no business being sandwiched between such fine work, but I like the sound of grackles, so I decided to use that footage.

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2 Replies to “Birds of A Life’s Work”

  1. Thanks for sharing, David! The last clip is so lovely — silhouetted birds against the turquoise truck.

    I’m 98% certain on the following IDs, but I encourage other birders to correct me.

    In order of appearance…

    Hairy Woodpecker
    Black-capped Chickadee
    Red-breasted Nuthatch
    White-breasted Nuthatch
    European Starling
    Common Raven
    Turkey Vulture
    Rock Wren
    Unidentified Flying Objects of the Duck Persausion
    Common or Great-tailed Grackle
    Dark-eyed Junco (specifically, the Oregon Junco type)
    House Sparrow

    1. My pleasure to share, Jessica.

      I like the SETI clip, too, and had fun making the birds fade in and fade out. I could have timed it better — there’s the one bit where a bird turns ghostly as its taking off, I think I could have made that more seamless — but it’s just for the blog after all. I also like how the turquoise truck looks like it could fit inside the white truck behind it. How times have changed…

      Thanks for ID-ing all the birds. I trust your expertise, but if someone takes issue (“Unidentified Flying Objects of the Duck Persuasion”? Is that in the Peterson Guide?), well, your email is right there!

      Finally, thank YOU for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Always nice to see your name around these here parts.

      Jessica Roth has written several posts for the A Life’s Work blog, and they’re all great. Make sure to check them out.

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