A Springtime Sparring Match

Photo Taken:
March 18, 2017
Photographer:
Bill Van der Hagen

Some days in the field you are reminded why you put in the long hours endured for wildlife photography, and most days in the field you are presented with scenes that are beyond the expectations you had when you arrived -  whether or not you get to capture them in the lense is beside the point.  After a 15 hour day of searching, with results far below the usual for the area I was in, I had the opportunity to spend 2 hours with this most elusive subject - While very common in South Dakota - The ring necked pheasant is notoriously camera shy - that is until it is springtime and his mind is a bit clouded and he becomes territorial. 

Earlier in the day while scouting with a friend I mentioned always wanting to capture 2 rooster ring necked pheasants in battle during the spring - following up this conversation with the fact that I had only gotten to witness this event 1 time in my life, I never imagined that 12 hours later I would be presented with the event not once, not twice, but tree times right in front of my camera. 

Although being the photographer, I can say the birds were facing the wrong way, and the images were in taller corn stubble than I would like, etc etc..... but I realize these photos are about the story and not the photo - it was truly remarkable to watch these 2 birds battle, and only one remain to strut his stuff near me for the remaining hours of daylight

Its the reason we do what we do, and its a reminder that mother nature never disappoints if you can step away from the world and watch for a little bit. 

Bill Van der Hagen

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