Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish all my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving.

It is traditionell in North America to have a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. I love these beautiful birds (in pictures and on my plate :-)).

This picture of a beautiful male Wild Turkey was taken at Radnor Lake in

 Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

The Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is native to North America.

Turkeys have 5000 to 6000 feathers.Tail feathers are of the same length in adults, different lengths in juveniles. The adult male normally weighs from 5 to 11 kg (11–24 pounds) and measures 100–125 cm (39–49 in). The adult female is typically much smaller at 2.5–5.4 kg (5.5–12 lb) and is 76 to 95 cm (30–37 in) long.

Males are polygamous, mating with as many hens as they can. Male wild turkeys display for females by puffing out their feathers, spreading out their tails and dragging their wings.

For more pictures of wildlife at Radnor Lake go to www.sperka.biz/radnor

New “Unseen New World” Photography Work Shop at the Nashville Zoo

A large number of animals species at the Nashville Zoo live in the Unseen New World. Their habitats (Terrariums and Aquariums) provide a completely different set of photographic challenges than outdoor exhibits. Join this new workshop if you would like to learn how Nashville Zoo Photographer, Christian Sperka, deals with those challenges.
Participants will also get the chance to photograph special animal feeding sessions.

The course is limited to ten participants, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

For more information and/or book the 4 hour program on December 11, 2011 go to http://www.nashvillezoo.org/education/usnw-photography-class.
Earlier this year Christian has recorded a video about photography in the Unseen New World. Here is the link to the video in case you are interested:

Picture of the Week 47 – We are playing – don’t interrupt!

These two Cape Hunting Dog puppies were playing when they were rudly interrupted by the photographer 🙂

The picture was taken at Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

Enjoy the picture!

For more Cape Hunting Dog (or African Wild Dog) pictures go to www.sperka.biz/chd

About Cape Hunting Dogs / African Wild Dog:

The Cape Hunting Dog (Lycaon pictus) is a large canid found only in Africa, especially in savannas and lightly wooded areas. It is variously called the African wild dog, African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, painted dog, painted wolf, painted hunting dog, spotted dog, or ornate wolf. This dog is the only canine without dewclaws which are the claws that are on the inside of the front feet.

The Cape Hunting Dog has a the highest biting force of any extant mammal of the order Carnivora, although exceeded by the Tasmanian devil a marsupial carnivore.

Litters can contain up to 19 pups, though ~10 is the most common. The typical gestation period is 70 days. Females will disperse from their birth pack at 14–30 months of age and join other packs that lack sexually mature females. Males typically do not leave the pack in which they were born.  In a typical pack, males outnumber females by a factor of two to one, and only the dominant female is usually able to rear pups. The species is also unusual in that some members of the pack, including males, may be left to guard the pups whilst the others, including the mothers, join the hunting group.

Picture of the Week 46 – Brothers

This week’s picture is of three Hyacinth Macaw brothers at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

About Hyacinth Macaws:
The Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is a parrot native to central and eastern South America. With a length of about 100 cm (3.3 ft) it is the largest macaw and the largest flying parrot species. Habitat loss and trapping wild birds for the pet trade has taken a heavy toll on their population in the wild, and as a result the species is classified as endangered. In the 1980s, it is estimated that at least 10,000 birds were
taken from the wild. The Nashville Zoo is involved in Hyacinth Macaw conservation. (Species Survial Plan SSP).

For more Hyacinth pictures go to  www.sperka.biz/macaw

Picture of the Week 45 – Warm Up

This week’s picture is of four Cheetah cubs looking straight into my camera at sunrise on a cold winter morning.

The picture was taken at on Mziki Marsh, my favorite area on Phinda Private Game Reserve, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

About Cheetahs:
The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large-sized cat inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is the only cat with semi-retractable claws. Cheetahs achieve by far the fastest land speed of any living animal – between 110 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and have the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds.

Females give birth after a gestation period of ninety to ninety-eight days. The average  litter size is three to five. Cubs are born with a downy underlying fur on their necks, called a mantle. This gives them a Mohawk-type appearance. This fur is shed as the cheetah grows older. It has been speculated this mane gives a Cheetah cub the appearance of the honey badger, to scare away potential aggressors. Cubs leave their mother between thirteen and twenty months after birth. Life span is up to twelve years in the wild, but up to twenty years in captivity. Unlike males, adult females are  solitary and tend to avoid each other.

For more Cheetah pictures go to www.sperka.biz/cheetah

Picture of the Week 43 – Halloween

This week’s picture is of a small Tamandua at Nashville Zoo celebrating Halloween with a giant pumpkin 🙂

Enjoy the picture!

About Tamanduas:
Tamandua is a genus of anteaters. It has two members: the Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) and the Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana). They live in forests and grasslands and possess partially prehensile tails. They mainly eat ants and termites. In captivity, they will eat fruits and meat. They have no teeth and depend on their powerful gizzard to break down their food. Besides the tamanduas, there are two other anteaters, the Giant Anteater and the Silky Anteater. Tamanduas are much smaller than the Giant Anteater, but are larger than the Silky Anteater. The word tamanduá is Tupi for “anteater”, and in Tupi and Portuguese refers to anteaters in general. The tamandua is called in those languages tamanduá-mirim (mirim means “small”).

Excellent Care!

  Nashville Zoo at Grassmere and Christian Sperka Photography present …

Excellent Care! An exhibition of images showing veterinarian care in a zoo environment

Picture: Monitoring by Christian Sperka
Invitation to the Nashville First Saturday Gallery Crawl – November 5, 2011
A very special exhibition awaits you at the Animal Art Photography Gallery on November 5, 2011 (at the First Saturday Gallery Crawl).
I have selected images documenting the excellent veterinarian animal care at the Nashville Zoo. Many of these – never before published – images were taken at procedures behind the scenes at the zoo.
Dr. Heather Robertson, Senior Veterinarian at the Nashville Zoo, will talk about the work of the vet staff in a short presentation (at 6:30pm, 7:15pm, 8:15pm and 9:00pm). She and other members of the Nashville Zoo staff will be there all evening to answer your questions.
A special guest, one of the over 2000 patients of Dr.Robertson, will make her appearance (together with her animal keeper).
Do not miss this exhibition of fascinating images!
When: Saturday, November 5, 2011 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm (Nashville First Saturday Gallery Crawl)
Where: Christian Sperka Photography & Animal Art Photography Gallery at the Arcade in Downtown Nashville (between Church and Union / 4th and 5th Avenue – )
I am looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.
Best regards – Christian

Picture: Hold on by Christian Sperka