The Awkward Flight of the Cape Spurfowl and a Surreal Moment of Shaking Feathers: A Visit from an Old Friend

When frightened, the Cape Spurfowl (pternistis capensis) would rather run away than fly away. I see this every time I go for a jog and run past them. The same with the helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris). This becomes very dangerous when you are driving in a car. They sometimes run in front of a driving car rather than flying. Sometimes they do not run fast enough. I cannot remember where I read/heard about it, but they do this because their wings are good for short spurts of energy. Think about a hundred or two hundred meter athlete rather than a marathon runner. But when they do fly, it is sometimes very awkward and it looks uncomfortable. This is accentuated or emphasized when you take images of it. I was lucky to capture such an awkward flight of a Cape Spurfowl, or an old friend, that visited my garden! I also captured one that shook its feathers. It was rainy and cloudy, and I had to use a slower shutter speed. This resulted in a very surreal-looking series of photographs. Before sharing these, I showcase the tremendous beauty of these feathered friends in some images I captured of them resting under a tree me and my dad planted.

The Beauty of the Cape Spurfowl Feathers

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I love their feathers. The patterns look like intricate art pieces that someone painstakingly put together one by one. Their stern looks also scream pride. They stand tall and proud. I do not get a visit from them that often, but when I do, I always sit for as long as they visit my garden and look at them.

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They are endemic to Southern Africa but interestingly they have come to have a liking for alien and non-native plants. This might be because they like fruits and seeds from various non-native plants. I am not sure, because my garden is mostly indigenous plants. Maybe they like the insects and critters in my garden.

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I like to lie down and make them feel comfortable. The cons of a DSLR camera are the loud shutter. But gaining their trust, I can crawl up close and lay still. A quasi-trust established, I proceed to capture their antics. They are such cute birds really. They do dig up parts of my garden, especially between small plants, but I will forgive them. It is after all actually their garden! If only they knew.

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A Surreal Moment of Shaking Feathers

As mentioned, I needed a slower shutter speed, so I captured these surreal-looking photographs of the friend shaking its feathers. I really liked how it came out actually.

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(You can actually see the water droplets it is shaking off.)

The Awkward Flight of the Cape Spurfowl

And now for the star of the show! The awkward flight of our feathered friend. I do not have video functionality on my old Nikon D300 camera, so I can only take photographs. This makes for interesting captures when I capture movement. Like the flight of this moment. If I could accompany these photographs with sound, it would have made it even more awkward! The flight sounds "heavy". But alas, he/she reached their destination!

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I hope you enjoyed this post! A couple of interesting photographs of a beautiful bird. As mentioned, all of the images were taken with my trusty Nikon D300 and a Tamron 300mm zoom lens. Stay safe and happy birding!

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