Right before I captured this Great Blue Heron, I was having a discussion (Kaya I believe) about photographing Herons in flight. This image fits the topic well.
I agree wildlife photography has a certain degree of luck, but I think subject knowledge and preparation are more important.
Above is the ‘signal’. You can spot it a moment before, or after this position, but only a moment. A Great Blue Heron will lean and bend almost always right before taking flight.
They also prefer taking off into the wind since it gives them more lift.
If you see this in the viewfinder, push the button. Your chances of the in flight shots are in your favor now.
The Great Egret above, a wading bird like a Heron, has the same habit. This is at the end of a bent knee lean, but still the same concept. A wading birds knees bend the exact opposite direction of a human, that’s the bent knee signal.
Raptors and Owls tend to fall forward.
We will obviously miss shots (last week I missed the perfect Heron image…I was talking!), but knowing as much as possible about the individuals habits is very important.