Our Painted Buntings stayed a little longer than usual this year. Typically the yard crew leaves in the first week of April, and then we have a couple of greenies stick around till around Earth Day. But this year, my wintering birds departed on April 15. They invited me to take their portraits so I’ll recognize them when they return in October!
I think we peaked at around 4 male Painted Buntings and 6-ish Greenies this winter. As always, I kept my millet feeder stocked for them inside their bunting cage, which protects their food from the bigger hungry
piggies grackles. On this particular evening, they were enjoying eating seed from my red salvia plants.
It was a cloudy evening, which gave me more flexibility in my shooting position. Normally I photograph from my blind in the afternoon, but since there was no sun angle, I could pick anywhere and still have good light. I was experimenting with my Beast and teleconverters on the R5 camera, and I was amazed at how well that camera still focuses with the 2x on at 1200mm!!
The buntings weren’t the only striking red birds outside that night. This Northern Cardinal flew up and grabbed a seed to take to his mate. He may be ready to be a father, but he hasn’t yet learned to chew with his mouth shut!
One of the greenies is a sugar addict. She grabbed a purple petal of a salvia flower and took it with her to the grass. She nibbled at it to get the nectar, then dropped the flower. Then she ventured to find some seeds in my lawn.
The yard is suddenly very empty and quiet without my little buddies.
Is it October yet?