The incubator bird
For four long months, this male brush turkey worked tirelessly to tend his nest mound. It was imperative that his eggs, buried deep under the rotting vegetation, were kept at 33°C. For Gerry, the turkey’s repetitive nature was an opportunity to experiment, enabling him to ‘come up with new and interesting ways’ to capture a ‘commonplace subject’.
The brush turkey is one of a handful of birds, the megapodes, who incubate their eggs with heat generated from rotting vegetation. Using sensors in their upper bill, they constantly monitor the mound’s temperature. Too hot and they must remove leaf litter, too cool and (like this male) more insulation must be piled on.
Canon 7D Mark II; 18–200mm f3.5 lens; 1/1000 sec at f9; ISO 1600; two Yongnuo Speedlite flashes and wireless trigger.
Near Garigal National Park, Sydney, Australia
Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Gerry Pearce, UK/Australia
Originally from the UK, Gerry combined his lifelong interests in wildlife and photography after moving to Australia. He tries to find novel ways to show commonplace subjects and has developed a broad portfolio of images across Australia and around the world. His hope is that his images help lead to a better understanding of the wild world.