A photographer snapped a real “angry bird” in midflight, as it shot like a bullet directly at the camera with its wings tucked by its side.
UK sports coach Will Hall was in Otterbourne in Hampshire waiting to snap some kestrels when he spotted a nuthatch a couple of yards away, on Dec. 8.
Suspecting it was going to fly toward him, the quick-thinking photographer captured a single “lucky shot” of the tiny bird zooming through the air, seeming to have a stern look upon its face.
The nuthatch’s characteristic angular eye markings resemble the thick, ANGRY eyebrows of that viral video game bird.
The 26-year-old said that most photos of birds in flight show their wings spread out, but the nuthatch tucks them in on their down-stroke and it was quite “rare” to capture that exact moment.
The kestrels didn’t show up for Hall that day, but among the hundreds of photos he did snap, the “amusing” and perfectly focused shot of the “superhero” stood out as his favorite.
“It was arguably the best photo I got from that day—it’s quite amusing and just makes me smile,” said Hall, who is from Winchester, Hampshire.
“I’ve heard a few people suggest that he looks like a little superhero coming straight at you with a little black bandit or face mask.
“Most shots of birds in flight have their wings stretched out, but the way the nuthatch flies means they tuck in their wings on the downstroke—so it’s quite rare to get that ‘freeze’ moment.”
Hall finds nuthatches “quite amusing” as they “always look quite grumpy.”
“He definitely looks a little bit like the Angry Bird,” Hall said.
“I find birds fascinating—you can see how small and compact they are when they’re coming straight at you—it looks like a little missile.”
Hall visited Otterbourne hoping to photograph some kestrels that he knew were in the area, and while waiting, he spotted a little nuthatch a couple of yards away.
The birds of prey never showed up, but among the 900 or so photos he took—mainly of songbirds that day—the single shot he captured of the zooming nuthatch was his favorite.
“I saw the nuthatch from far off and I could tell that it was going to fly towards me and I just happened to fire off a shot at the right time—it was entirely luck,” Hall said.
“When you see it on the little screen at the back of the camera the quality of the image is not very good, I couldn’t really tell if I'd nailed the focus until I got it back.”
Hall said he “knew it was going to be an amusing image” but “didn’t realize how good it was” as it pinpointed the bird directly head-on.
“I didn’t think it was going to be a particularly popular post, but it seems to have been probably my most popular so far,” he added.
“The comments have been really nice—it’s been nice to have an amusing photo that people like in quite a miserable time.”