Chickadee Fighting Back

This article features a selection of 20 consecutive photographs of a chickadee fighting back after it was challenged by another of its own species. This is one of those ‘slice of life’ image runs made possible by the Olympus Pro Capture H mode.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

In our first image we can see the challenging bird approaching the chickadee perched on an outstretched hand with some peanuts.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

As the challenger moves in closer the perched chickadee begins to lose its footing.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

The perched chickadee begins to fall as the challenger begins its landing manoeuvre.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

The perched chickadee turns in mid-air to face the challenger.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

The challenger begins to have second thoughts as the original perched bird begins fighting back.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

The challenger back peddles its wings to stop its landing manoeuvre.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

The chickadee fighting back continues its aggressive retaliation.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

The challenger is hovering above the outstretched hand, watching the other chickadee approaching.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

As the chickadee fighting back continues to advance, the challenger decides to leave.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

The challenger appears to stall in mid-air just before it turns to retreat. The next 10 frames capture the original perched chickadee fighting back, then chasing the challenger away.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

Beautiful spread wing position of the challenger.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

Another beautiful wing position as the challenger flies backwards away from the chickadee fighting back.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

An interesting mid-air pose by the challenger.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

Some aerial acrobatics by the challenger as it makes a hasty retreat.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 134 mm, efov 268 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.4 metres

The 20 photographs in this Olympus Pro Capture H image run took a total of 1/3 of a second to capture handheld with my Olympus OM-D E-M1X. Being able to capture this ‘slice of life’ action with full resolution RAW files at 60 frames per second redefines what is possible for bird-in-flight photography.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs are displayed as 100% captures without any cropping.

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4 thoughts on “Chickadee Fighting Back”

  1. Tom,

    I love the images especially when the chickadee wings fold over hits body — makes one think long and hard about stuff like physics and aerodynamics (and how the chickadee is fighting the laws and stay aloft). But I read beyond the obvious and I appreciate the wisdom of the post: if the chickadee can fight back, why can’t humanity? We’ve always taken our cues from nature whether we know it or not so here’s one more lesson we can learn from our winged friends. We are up against a mighty foe but we will emerge wiser.

    To your health and safety,

    Oggie
    http://www.lagalog.com

    1. Thank you for the insightful comment Oggie! The chickadee in this article was put off balance and fell from its perch… then quickly regrouped to address its challenger directly. So too will all of us band together to meet our common foe.

      Tom

    1. Hi Ted,

      I think there are two plausible answers..
      1) There were some smaller seeds underneath the peanuts.
      2) The chickadee was an optimist of gargantuan proportions… 🙂

      All kidding aside, on very rare occasions I have seen a chickadee somehow grab a shelled peanut and fly off with it… with significant effort of course.

      Tom

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