Thursday, June 7, 2018


It's no secret that birds are one of my favorite critters to photograph.  I have feeders around my deck that attract several varieties, and I can enjoy watching them throughout the day.  Their beautiful songs fill the air, and I'm starting to learn to identify the birds by their vocalizations.

This beautiful House Finch is one of my favorites, with its lovely bright coloring.  Sometimes it's a challenge to identify birds who have similar coloring.

The House Finch is similar to both the Purple Finch and the Pine Grosbeak.  I've seen the female which isn't as showy, and that has helped me narrow the breed to the House Finch.

I generally prefer to photograph birds in a natural environment, but sometimes I can only get them on a feeder because they move so quickly from the surrounding branches to the feeder.  This male American Goldfinch is brilliant in his bright yellow, spring coat.

This female Red-winged Blackbird looks nothing like her striking mate with his sleek black coat and bright red shoulder patch.  She's more comfortable at the feeders than he his.  I see him more on the ground picking at the seed that I throw there regularly for the ground feeders.

All is not easy with bird feeding, however.  Critters such as squirrels and large nuisance birds constantly are a challenge to keep off the feeders.  My squirrel proof feeder really helps, however.  With a tension ring down the center that I can set for a particular weight, most large critters are deterred.  If a large squirrel steps on one of the perches, the spring-loaded perch hole closes and keeps the squirrel from reaching the seed.

I'm finding, unfortunately, that some birds are craftier than the squirrels.  This Common Grackle, with its bright yellow eye and metallic purple sheen, is one of the smart ones.

When it lands on a perch, and the food door begins to shut, it lifts one leg up to lighten the weight and keep enough of the feed door open to grab some seed.

Another piggy bird is the European Starling.  It has a different technique for foiling the closing doors of the squirrel-proof feeder.  When it arrives on a perch, it flutters its wings, so it doesn't put its full weight on the perch.  Sometimes the starlings and grackles come in such large numbers that I have to take down the feeders for a few days, which drives them away looking for other food sources.  The other birds aren't happy about that, and neither am I so I only do that as a last resort.

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