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The Major

The Major
Photo Information
Copyright: Alan Turvey (liquidsunshine) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1878 W: 112 N: 1560] (5437)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-10-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX APO RF, Hoya skylight (1B)
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Macaws, Open Up ...Part I [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-10-31 15:12
Viewed: 4300
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Another post from Whipsnade wild animal park.

The Blue and Gold Macaw is striking in its appearance due to its beautiful coloration. Its back and upper tail feathers are brilliant blue while the underside of the tail is olive yellow. The forehead feathers are green. The wing feathers are blue with green tips, and the underwing coverts and breast are yellow-orange. The bare facial area is creamy white with several lines made of small black feathers. The beak is grey-black, and the throat is black. The eyes of an adult bird are yellow and its legs are grey.

Macaws use their beaks as an aid in both eating and as a “third foot” when climbing. Food is obtained using the strong beak that is also used to crush the seeds and to open nuts. They can exert tremendous pressure with their beaks. (They certainly have the strength to remove a finger; but, fortunately, such an occurrence is extremely rare. They usually don’t want to bite hard and typically pinch the handler instead.) Very hard nuts are cracked open after the macaw files down the thickness of the shell in one place using the lower part of the beak. The thick fleshy tongue is used to move the food around.

On hatching, the young are blind and almost naked. The eyes open after 7-14 days. At first only the female feeds the young; but, after about a week, the male joins in. The young are fed by the parents’ regurgitation of partially digested vegetable matter.

Blue and Gold Macaws are generally seen in pairs but may congregate with others to form flocks of up to 30 birds. Paired birds fly close together with their wings almost touching. They undertake conspicuous daily flights from their roosting sites to scattered feeding grounds, but return to the roosting trees just before sunset by flying high above the forest canopy. Blue and Gold Macaws are extremely wary; and, at the slightest sign of danger, will rise into the air screeching loudly.

Blue and Gold Macaws are extremely intelligent and adaptable and can be taught to do tricks as well as to mimic words. They are very expressive and will show their emotions or intentions by cocking their heads, vocalizing, flashing their eyes (voluntary constriction of the pupils), and blushing. They also use fluffing of the feathers, raising the wings, prancing, bowing, shaking their tail feathers, and head bobbing as forms of communication.

It is a common myth that macaws will live 75 to 100 years, however, macaws are not as long lived as cockatoos. Their lifespan is typically up to 50 years with breeding age being up to approximately 30-35 years. A 40-year-old macaw shows definite signs of aging, and a 50-year-old macaw is very old.

Notes from www.oregonzoo.org

Thanks for looking, have a good week.

Fisher, marhowie, cecilia, scottevers7, dew77, coasties, TAZ, Signal-Womb, red45, Paulosousa, Luc, ellis49, thistle, Janice, livios, PDP, annagrace has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Another striking shot from you Alan. Great colors and very sharp. TFS!

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2005-10-31 16:08]

Sir Alan,

Excellent portrait and well done on the composition and details. Excellent work.


  • Great 
  • Athila Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 335 W: 239 N: 493] (1982)
  • [2005-10-31 16:51]

Great picture Alan,

Technically, sharp focus and perfect exposure.

Artistically, wonderful blur for the BG, good composition, and you caught a moment where he seems exasperated.


Cool shot of the Blue & Gold especially with the nice soft background and great lighting. Paul :)

Great shot Alan. Very good detail, color, sharpness and DOF. Like this POV low from under the lifted wing, it's different. Excellent note as always. Well done & Happy Halloween!

Superb shot Alan - such lovely detail and colours...
Very well composed...

Hi Alan,
An excellent portrait here. The composition and framing look perfect to me. Great job on the exposure. The colors and detail are awesome.

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2005-11-01 4:22]

Alan bonjour, magnifique portrait de cet oiseau toujours photogénique !! Good timing and excellent colors. TFS Didier.

Hi Alan

Wonderful capture. Nicely composed. What a magnificent array of colour. Sharpness and detail are spot on. Nice work. Thanks.

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2005-11-01 4:54]

I wanted to say here that I appreciate this very good and interesting shot ! Congratulations Alan and thanks for sharing.
PS : the raison of my too short comment is on the forum...

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  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-11-01 5:53]

Hello Alan,
Very nice portrait shot! Colors,pose,composition and details are very good...TFS:)

Excellent portrait Alan, great colours and sharpness with nice details even in the shadows. 7/10 Very nice work.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-11-01 11:11]

Stunning shot Alan! Composition, colours, sharpness, details are superb.

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  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-11-01 16:43]

Excellent shot Alan. I really like the background, the colors and the sharp details. The picture is well composed altough I find the shadow on the beak a little bit disturbing. Well done & TFS!


Great portrait of this macaw Alan! Good composition, beautiful colors and nice OOF background. Excellent sharpness and details. TFS!

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-11-01 20:52]

;-) Great title!
Personal assessment of the photo: excellent.
Capacity of evocation in me: strong.
Very strong visual impact.
Aptness of the photo for the site: excellent.
Personal assessment of the note: complete and very interesting.
Thank you very much Alan.

  • Great 
  • CDez (44)
  • [2005-11-01 23:11]

Bonjour Alan,

je découvre ta galerie, quelle merveille.
D'avoir pu isoler uniquement la tête de l'oiseau et d'avoir rendu flou l'arrière plan renforce les contrastes des couleurs.
J'aime beaucoup.

Nice close, well captured detail indeed.


Hi Alan,
This is a very good portrait wiht lovely colours and very good details. I agree with Pieter about the shadow on the beak but thats a minor nit.
Great work.

  • Great 
  • Graal Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 751 W: 31 N: 20] (5100)
  • [2005-11-02 4:03]

Great portrait, Alan. I like the composition, colours and DOF. Interesting note. Well done.
Rgs, Aleksander

Another lovely shot!
It would have been great to have such place like Whipsnade animal park somewhere nearby.
The shot is very interesting though the shadow on the face created by the wing may be a bit disturbing. On the other hand it makes photo different and that's very good.
Anyway, I like it very much.
Have a good rest of the week :)

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-11-02 14:35]

The Major - love the title as he does look like he's barking out orders!
Wonderful portrait Alan, super colours and details. Well done.
You have a good week too.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-11-02 15:47]

Alan, this is a stunning image.

Excellent portrait with great sharpness, composition, bg, pov, dof and a nice mixture between light and dark shades.

A very pleasing image.

  • Great 
  • Toni Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 403 W: 2 N: 316] (2034)
  • [2005-11-09 16:28]

Hi Alan
Interesting composition. I like the soft BG which sets him off well.
Regards Toni

You've certainly been busy with your whipsnade shots since I last visited your gallery! Some are quite similar to mine, of course, but I haven't been able to get a decent shot of the macaws, certainly not as good as this one, anyway. Super clarity and extreme background blur are the highlights for me. Well done.

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-12-10 12:54]

Hi Alan, great capture! I love the expression and the composition. It's a shame that the shadow from the wing fell on his face but apart from that is superb.

Well a 40 year old woman shows signs of aging too, LOL!

Hope your Christmas was happy despite your illness. Happy New Year, my friend, be safe with those new extended drinking hours, LOL!


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