Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Digiscoping Harris Hawk Fledglings

Are you SURE that's how you take off???
Ranger Amy at McDowell Mountain Park showing
 me the digiscope images on my iPhone

On Friday, June 3rd, expert birder and naturalist at McDowell Mountain Park, Ranger Amy, set up scopes so we could see their three fledgling Harris Hawks.  Two were out of the nest in a nearby clump of mistletoe, the third was still in the nest, and all three were crying to be fed. Mom was off hunting for food while Dad observed the noisy wing flapping fledglings from afar.  The young hawks are already as big or bigger than their parents.  We kept our distance and tried getting closeup photos with just my SonyCybershot 12x but it wasn't powerful enough.  So we tried using the iPhone with the viewing scope.

Digiscoping isn't quite as easy as you would think, with an iPhone anyway.  Amy tried with my iPhone and it was difficult to position the phone's lens at just the right angle and distance, keep it centered, zoom in, and tap the screen to take the picture, whew, all without jiggling the camera!  To successfully digiscope using an iPhone, you really need some sort of mount to steady and position the phone.  Rich Hoyer of Tucson has some tips on digiscoping with an iPhone posted here.  If you'd like to try digiscoping with your point-and-shoot digital camera, check out this video on how to make your own digiscope adapter out of a soda bottle, duct tape, a hose clamp, and some rubber!  If any of you can figure out how to make a similar adapter for the iPhone, please contact me at .  I'd love to give it a try!

Harris Hawk male adult watching the fledgling's antics from a distance.

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