Dunnock (Prunella modularis )
The Dunnock is a small dull looking bird often found in areas of dense vegetation and woodland edges. This bird is found in gardens with hedge rows and large amounts of shrubs as it likes to keep close to cover as it hunts for its diet of insects, spiders,invertebrates and seeds. The Dunnock tends to stay close to the ground and is often seen below bird feeders eating what has fallen to the floor.
It is a native spices that overwinters in the U.K.
It is a member of the Accentor family of birds but is often misidentified as a house sparrow due to there similar size and drab appearance. The RSPB states there current nesting figures as 2,163,000 and also as an amber list species and is considered a conservation concern. The numbers of Dunnocks in the 1970’s and 1980’s fell in a dramatic manner; this was possible due to a loss of their natural habitat caused by the removal of hedge rows in agriculture and changes in forestry practice since then however the numbers have stabilized and may even be starting to recover.
They are famed for there unconventional nesting arrangements with it not being uncommon for a female to courting many males presumably in an attempt to guarantee a good food supply for the chicks.
The image was taken with a canon 50d and a sigma 70-200 2.8. the shot was taken at a focal length of 200mm at f4. Due to the small nature of the bird it was vital to take the picture at 200mm in order to get the bird to partially fill the frame it also allowed me to focus past much of the foreground vegetation in order to see the bird. I decided to take a picture of it like this as it is often hard to shoot this small fast moving bird in the open as they are predisposed to staying in or around thick cover. I used f4 as this nicely separated the subject from the background and took full advantage of the smooth bokeh which comes with fast aperture lenses. I am pleased with the image as the background looks lush and colourful which balances well with the muted colouring of the bird.
I will continue to watch this family of birds closely as their behaviour is quite intriguing and maybe obtain a 300 or 400mm lens in order to get close images from a greater distance so as not to disturb this easily spooked bird.