Man Photographs a Real-Life “Angry Bird” Right in His Own Backyard

Angry Birds Viral Photo by Scott Taylor

Photo: Scott Taylor

The nice thing about photographing birds is that you never know what can happen. That's certainly true for Scott Taylor, who got more than he bargained for when photographing birds snacking on seeds in his family's backyard in Nebraska. While there were many birds in the yard that day, one particularly determined northern cardinal made a beeline for the bird feeder. And that's when Taylor was able to capture the image that he captioned, “playing a quick game of angry birds.”

After posting the photograph to Facebook, Taylor was amazed by the attention the image received. “I am from a town of 960 people where everyone knows pretty much everyone,” he tells My Modern Met. “So to receive the amount of attention that I received was absolutely crazy to me. People from all over the world started contacting me.”

Taylor, who has been passionate about photography since he was a teenager, is particularly fond of nature and wildlife photography. So when his parents called him to let him know that their bird feeders were full of birds, he went right over to test out the camera that he'd recently received as a gift from his wife. The home has a large window in the kitchen, where we had the perfect view of the birds flying back and forth from a blue spruce tree to the bird feeders, where they were feasting on black sunflower seeds.

Angry Birds Viral Photo by Scott Taylor

Photo: Scott Taylor

“I grabbed my camera and joined them at the kitchen window, and I was amazed at how their colors popped out from the white snow and the cloudy sky. The feeders and the tree were filled with house finches, American goldfinches, red-bellied woodpeckers, nut hatches, ladder-back woodpeckers, and, of course, the northern cardinals,” Taylor recalls. “I opened the kitchen window and instantly started snapping pictures of all of the birds. I was taking pictures of the cardinal when it decided to fly to the feeder to grab a sunflower snack from the feeders—not knowing until I arrived at home that I captured that bird completely focused in flight looking right at me.”

The cropped version of Taylor's photograph shows just how determined this cardinal was to get a snack. And, as Taylor perfected said, the bird does look almost angry. The photo is truly reminiscent of an iconic Angry Bird from the eponymous game, with the furrowed brow we're so used to seeing.

For Taylor, it's been a wonderful, and unexpected, treat to see his work so well received. “I was amazed,” he admits. “It was a one-in-million shot that was pure luck that I captured it.”

He's now working with a local high school to put together a website where he can sell his photographs. In return, he'll be donating a portion of the sales to the high school class.

Scott Taylor got a once-in-a-lifetime photo of an “angry bird” flying through the air.

Angry Birds Viral Photo by Scott Taylor

Photo: Scott Taylor

In reality, the cute cardinal was flying toward a bird feeder full of delicious seeds.

Northern Cardinal on a Tree

Photo: Scott Taylor

Taylor happened to catch the moment when the bird flew from a nearby spruce tree toward the feeder.

Caardinals in a Blue Spruce Tree

Photo: Scott Taylor

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Scott Taylor.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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