|Chestnut-backed Chickadee, by Craig Johnson. Click on images to enlarge.|
If you did not receive the annual report in the mail, click here to visit the Land Trust's website, where you may download and view a PDF of it.
|Hummingbirds in the nest in Freeland, ready to fledge. Craig Johnson photo.|
It's no surprise many Land Trust members are bird-lovers, because birds really bring home the importance of healthy habitat in sustaining diverse, highly specialized creatures. Besides, birds just make us happy. Virtually everything the Land Trust does in protecting forests, agricultural lands, shorelines and wetlands supports wild birds, many of whom travel immense distances every year in their continental or worldwide migrations.
For the second year running, Craig and Joy Johnson of Freeland donated wild bird images that make the report so visually stunning. "I just love birds," Craig says. "If my images can inspire someone to do something good for the birds, then I've been successful."
The annual report's graphic designer, Jen Pennington, chose Craig's image of a juvenile, Chestnut-backed Chickadee for the front cover. As a would-be photographer myself, I marvel at the exquisite detail of every feather in that image. Craig photographed the bird as it was being fed by a parent. "I had no way to conceal myself, so the birds knew I was there," he said. "The parent would call the young bird into the vegetation before feeding and I had only a brief window to snap the photo before the bird went deeper."
The report also prominently features Craig's gorgeous image of two newborn Rufous hummingbirds in their nest near Freeland. Craig found the nest when it contained two eggs. He carefully and respectfully documented the birds' development every day from birth until they fledged and flew away, always maintaining a safe distance so he did not interfere with the mother or juveniles in any way.
|Northern Harrier (left). Western Tanager (right), by Craig Johnson.|
Craig and Joy Johnson published a children's book inspired by their experiences in photographing the baby hummingbirds in Freeland. The Amazing Hummingbird Story of Red Rufous is on sale in bookshops, gift shops and wild bird stores all over Whidbey Island, and may also be ordered by mail directly from the Johnsons. Click here for a preview of the book. To order, e-mail Joy Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.