Backyard photography

Can You Tell?

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House Finch

Rich cracked me up so hard and I just have to share the joke.  Recently I finished editing this image and I took the laptop to him, asking “Can you tell?” His response was priceless. “I don’t know if there was a branch, and I don’t know if there was a bird!” Such are the joys of Photoshop fun. :)

Backyard photography

Ornithology 101

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This is a special guest post by our cat Goldilocks.  We call Goldy our resident ornithologist.  She spends most of her days at our windows, watching outside to see the birds there.  When she was younger, a call of “bird bird bird!” from anywhere in the house would bring her running.  Now she is training our kitten Whiskey in the beginnings of bird-watching… Now, Whiskey, stop chasing after kitten toys and come sit in the window with me.  The outside world is full of wondrous things, like dragonflies and insects and birds.  The birds are the best. Now the ones on the ground are called doves.  They don’t move much.  Be careful not to disturb them by moving too quickly in our window.  They are very skittish!  They like to eat the seed on the ground.  They’re not the greatest fliers…their wings rub together as they fly, and it sounds like they are saying “look out below!” The big red ones are called cardinals.  They make nests in our neighborhood, so we get to see babies a couple times a year.  The bright red ones are the boys, the lighter red ones with bright beaks are the girls, and the […]

Backyard photography

House Finches

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It’s fun to watch the little House Finch juveniles as they learn how to live.  They usually travel with Papa, and their chirping begs for food can be heard across the neighborhood.  Here, Daddy took a well-deserved break from his little ones to get some food himself.

Backyard photography

Baby House Finches

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The House Finches have been showing up at our feeders with their recently fledged little ones.  The babies are so cute to watch as they flap their wings to beg for food.  Their sweet little chatter is fun to listen to.  I wish I could find one of their nests…

Backyard photography

Stoneybrook Signs of Spring

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I’m getting way behind in posting backyard spring pictures!  So here’s a nice collection of the birdie goings-on around Stoneybrook West… We have a pair of Brown Thrashers who have been making an appearance each afternoon in my back rose bed.  They are quite regular.  I wonder if they may have a nest in our viburnum?  I had thought that I would trim it after the Painted Buntings leave, but I’ve had so many birds moving in and out of the bushes that I think I may have to wait until after spring nesting season is over. The American Goldfinches continue to grace us with their sweet calls and cheerful presence.  I haven’t seen a male in the past few weeks.  (Males are distinguished by their bright black heads.)  The females continue to visit our niger feeder.  Their feathers are turning brighter by the day.  It’s going to be sad when they too leave us. The House Finches are bright red and they have started to sing as they attract their mates and begin to build their nests.  They’ve learned to appreciate the Painted Bunting feeder, which has a cage surrounding it to protect the little birds from being evicted […]

Backyard photography

House Finches

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We’ve been seeing increased House Finch activity in the last week or so.   I’ve seen juveniles flapping their wings and begging for food, and older males starting to molt (and looking extremely scruffy!)  We’ve had six and eight birds at a time at the bird bath and bird feeders.  It’s nice to see the activity picking up again. This afternoon I watched this poor little guy all fluffed up in the rain.  He was sitting on the feeder dozing off.  He’d pull a sunflower seed into his mouth, then his eyes would close, and the seed would fall to the ground.  Then he’d jump a bit, remember where he was, and start eating again.  I felt badly for the little guy.  These rainy days can’t be easy on the birds. I love how my new camera does the “blinkies” in over-exposed areas!   The 7D’s low-light performance far exceeds the 40D.  Having higher ISO numbers with acceptable noise makes me feel like I’ve gotten faster lenses.  It’s great!!

Beyond the Backyard

Winter Birding at Callaway Gardens

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We went to Callaway Gardens to see the Fantasy in Lights display, but during the day, we had a great time walking around the gardens. There are so many birds at Callaway! The Callaway Birds of Prey show is fun. They pick three of about ten of their birds to display during each show, and they let the birds fly (sometimes right over the spectators’ heads!). It’s interesting to hear about the different birds. The chapel looked pretty surrounded in the fall colored leaves. We were surprised to stick see colored leaves on the trees. Being Floridians, it doesn’t take much color on trees to get us excited! They had also decorated the Sibley Horticultural Center for Christmas. Some of the garden-inspired decorations were very clever.