Goose Escaping Belly Bite

This article features 18 consecutive handheld photographs of a Canada goose escaping a belly bite during a fight with another goose.

As I was photographing a few gulls, ducks and geese at Grimsby harbour yesterday, I noticed a couple of Canada geese using a threat display as they were approaching some other geese.

Noticing this type of behaviour is always a signal that something interesting may be about to happen. So, I focused my camera on the approaching geese and waited to see if a fight was going to erupt. Often a threat display is enough to get other birds to move on… but it wasn’t sufficient in this situation.

A brief fight broke out with the aggressor landing a firm belly bite on the other goose. This is clearly visible in frame 11 of the series. Altercations like the one illustrated in the images in this article are often very brief… and unless one is prepared the action can be over before a photographer even gets the geese in focus.

Let’s have a look at the entire series of 18 consecutive photographs in this image run. All of these images were captured in a total of 1 second.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 17.9 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.4 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.4
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 17.3 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 17.2 metres

The aggressor goose lunges with its intended belly bite.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 17.3 metres

A firm belly bite has been acquired by the attacking goose. In the next 6 images you’ll see the attacking goose hang on to its belly bite until the other goose finally breaks free.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 16.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 16.9 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 17.7 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.7 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 18.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 17.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with MC-14 teleconverter @ 140 mm, efov 280 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO-1000, full frame capture, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, subject distance 17.8 metres

The victimized goose has broken free and is departing the area. Typically these types of conflicts are very brief and once the attacking bird has established its dominance, or has retreated, things settle down.

I had Pro Capture L on my E-M1X set to 10 Pre-Shutter Frames with the Frame Limiter turned off. A frame rate of 18 frames-per-second was used in conjunction with silent shutter. As noted in a previous article, my primary bird-in-flight setting is Pro Capture L used in tandem with the E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking.

It took me a while to adapt my handheld approach to use the EM-1 X’s Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking. Now that I’m very comfortable using it, I can’t imagine reverting back to any other auto-focus setting for birds-in-flight with my E-M1X… other than for birds taking off or landing where my standard setting is Pro Capture H.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. All photographs are displayed as full frame captures that have been resized for web use.

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