Birdman of Destrehan
Bird-watchers nationwide are dusting off their binoculars for the Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 16-19. But Destrehan native and nature photographer Ronnie Gaubert keeps our feathered friends in sharp focus all the time.
In fact, he spends every spare minute photographing Louisiana birds and “swamp-scapes” using an unusual technique that puts his work in a class by itself – and has earned him international acclaim.
“I’ve been taking pictures since I was 17, and I have a real passion for shooting swamp-scapes and avian sceneries,” Gaubert told the Herald-Guide.
Gaubert says that he switched from a film camera to digital in 2002 and prefers to use a telephoto lens coupled with special “close-up” lenses in an arrangement that produces exceptionally sharp images and an artistically blurred background – a style that he really likes.
“I am close to retirement and would like to start selling my digital images and maybe converting a few into print images,” says Gaubert.
Interested in viewing Gaubert’s photo gallery? He has over 2000 pictures posted on www.pbase.com and adds new photos every week.
You can be a birdman – or a birdwoman – too
Speaking of Ronnie Gaubert and birds, the Audubon Society says now is the perfect time to take count of our feathered friends and help gather information about those that live in and visit the parish.
During the Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 16-19, bird enthusiasts are asked to count birds at any outdoor location and report their findings online or by sending in the numbers to this web address, http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/.
The count will help the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology gather statistical data on bird populations nationwide and they’re asking Herald-Guide readers help.
It’s important work, experts say, because what happens to bird populations is a sign of environmental health or distress.
All you do is watch your bird feeder or go to a park or take a walk and count.
There are dozens of birds you can spot in St. Charles Parish.
But the Audubon Society asks that you keep an especially sharp eye peeled for three birds that are dwindling in number. They are:
American Kestrel: though present across the country, numbers are known to be declining due to loss of habitat
Henslow’s Sparrow: population is declining rapidly; is on Audubon WatchList, estimated pop. 79,000
Rusty Blackbird: declining across its range, though common in some localities; on Audubon WatchList.