Rabbit Photo, posted 2012-08-24

Urban Wildlife – Most trips to the Missouri Botanical Garden are focused on the flowers, trees, and other plants that the Garden offers.  These plants offer a variety of colors, shapes, and photographic opportunities throughout most of the spring and summer.  In the fall, you typically have a wide range of browns, golds, and reds as the annuals die off for a year and the deciduous trees shed their leaves until the following spring.  The winter offers an opportunity for landscape photography, sometimes stark and gray, other times with color that is rare in a midwest winter.

What you don’t often hear photographers talking about is wildlife photography at the Botanical Garden.  Instead, wildlife photography is more often associated with some of the nearby state parks, forests, and even the zoo.  That’s not to say, however, that wildlife doesn’t exist in the Garden.

Like most urban locations with a year round water source, a lake or a pond, Canada Geese are common.  Similarly a number of mallards and wood ducks make the Garden their home.  Great Blue Herons and egrets are often seen and this year I even saw one or two Black Crowned Night Herons.  Squirrels abound as do song birds, sometimes offering photo opportunities and other times offering only a glimpse of themselves as they hide from humans passing by.

For the first time this year, I also saw a number of chipmunks or, more likely, ground squirrels (no photos, they move much too fast) and also this rabbit while at the Garden.  I shouldn’t have been surprised.  The same things that attract the resident waterfowl also draw these guys – an abundant food supply, fresh water, and plenty of cover to provide protection from predators.

So even though I would never expect to see deer, elk, or bison at the Botanical Garden, there are still opportunities to see a variety of urban wildlife and expand the variety of photographic subjects, even in the heart of the city.

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