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MOTM March 2012
5,292 Posts
This is obviously something that crops up a fair bit on here of people wanting us to help sex their Budgies. Which is not a problem and we all love to see the pictures ;)

However when people are taking pictures of their birds to be sexed there are a few pointers, these can also be used for pictures in general and for mutations/ ages.

lighting - please please please take your pictures in natural light without flash! Flash will wash any colouration out making a bird appear to be something it is not, likewise an overhead light such as having the light on when it is dark outside, this can also wash colour out or depending on the brightness of the light make everything appear with a yellow hue.

focus -
a blurry picture is no good to anyone, if your bird does not like the camera or does not stay still then if possible use a camera with a speed function, this is where you set the shutter speed, set it to be as fast as you can without compromising on the lighting as you do not want to have to use flash.

distance - having the birds face squashed against the camera is just as useless as having a picture taken from a great distance away. Try to aim to get a bit of background above the birds head and then down to the birds feet, this should give enough natural light and enough of a distance that the camera can focus correctly and accuratly.

positioning - the position of the bird in the picture is also important, a bird facing the other way is no good, likewise one looking up and hiding most of the cere is no good either, aim to have the bird looking straight at the camera where possible so the full cere is visible.
For mutation pictures it is best to have a full on front shot of the bird, full on back shot and also a side shot so we get a full idea of the colouration, where possibly in mutations post the mutations of the parents or pictures of the parents - obviuosly pet store bought birds you probably won't know.
For ages it is best to get a good shot of the bird face on so we can see the head and determine if there are baby bars, and also side ways so we can see the eyes, the eye picture needs to be a closer to the camera than for sexing as we need to be able to clearly see the eye for any iris rings developing.
Likewise try and get an unobstructed shot of the bird, if the bars are covering the cere it is no use.

Age - whilst some of us breeders can sex very young birds for the majority it is best to post pictures of birds that are 8 weeks + even as a breeder myself I can normally tell by 4 weeks of age in my own chicks, however I do not guarentee the sex of my birds until they reach 8 weeks and there is always going to be that one that does not seem able to decide itself lol.

There are a range of different coloured ceres and this can also depend on the mutation of the bird in question.

Young females will have a pale blue cere with white rings around the nares whereas young males will have pink/ purple ceres.

As they mature the males cere will turn an even blue unless they are of certain mutations in which the cere does not change to blue it stays pink/purple.

Females ceres will turn to a pale brown, dark brown, crusty texture, and then back to a pale blue with white or pale tan or some stay brown

camera - I know not everyone has expensive cameras and its more how you can work the camera than what type you have, however in general ipods, phones and even webcams are not the best at taking very good pictures, however if this is all you have there is not much to be, by taking into account the above pointers you should be able to get some decent pictures.

Take a couple of pictures and see which is the best.

To give you an idea of what I mean here are some pictures of my birds, I will show you some bad pictures and why they are bad and then some better pictures. To make it more interesting I will not say what sex the birds are, post your guesses and we can see who is right :) I will number the pictures so people can compare answers if they are interested.

First up:
this is taken in natural light and is a good distance however as you can see the bird is not fully facing forward and the picture is blurred.

For age determining however this is the sort of picture that would be good for an eye shot were it in focus and not blurred.

picture 1

Next up:
picture 2
again is a good distance but is blurred and is out of focus

this one is a bit too close to the camera and is not natural lighting, it is also blurry
picture 3

This one is blurry and too far away from the camera to have focused correctly, bird on the left:
picture 4

This is not natural lighting it is taken under a normal room light:
picture 5

This bird is too young for a lot of people to accuratly tell the gender:
picture 6

picture 7

These are not very clear or in natural light:
picture 8

picture 9

These next few I will leave to you to determine the problems in the pictures:
picture 10

picture 11

picture 12

picture 13

These are much better for determining the gender:
whilst this one if not full forward facing it is clear, in focus and in natural lighting, it is also a good example of a side shot for mutation

picture 14

this is a good clear shot with a good distance from the camera:
picture 15

same bird another shot

picture 16

This one is in natural light, could do with facing forward more however you can still determine the gender:
picture 17
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