November Yard Birds

By josh • Nature, Wildlife • 7 Nov 2012

With the arrival of an American Tree Sparrow this week, most of our regular winter yard species have arrived for the season.  We’ve already had Pine Siskins and a pair of Common Redpolls (seen a week ago but not since), and we’ll likely see a variety of other winter finches between now and March.

At some point I anticipate a waxwing invasion.  Our new neighborhood is filled with fruit trees, especially crabapples.  One tree in our neighbor’s yard is an early favorite with the robins and starlings, but we have one just off our back porch that is both filled with fruit and a good stopover on the way to our feeder station.

Our three-season sunroom works pretty effectively as a blind.  I can sit there when A is napping and point the camera out the window!  This past Saturday I tested this out even though it was (as it has been for months) cloudy and dark. The house finches put on a show though…

Male House Finch

Male House Finch, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 400

We’ve had two pair here for the last few weeks.  I’ve been trying, as yet unsuccessfully, to photograph one of the females who has some odd discoloring around her head.  It’s probably leucism, but I’d like a good photo to get a better look.

The finches seem to prefer the smaller shriveled up fruits- they’re probably easier for them to eat.

Male House Finch

Male House Finch, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 400

The robins, on the other hand, go for the brightest, juiciest looking bits.

American Robin

American Robin, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 400

American Robin

American Robin, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 400

It’s also pretty windy up on our little ridge above the lake- there’s not much between us and the Adirondacks, 20 miles to the west.  We do have a hedge to protect us from the worst of it, but the juncos and goldfinches were getting buffeted by some wicked gusts every time they flew up beyond the white cedar.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 400

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO 400

Much to my chagrin, we do have plenty of European Starlings and House Sparrows around. So far they haven’t monopolized the feeders, but I may have to change the blend of seed I’ve been using.  Perhaps more black-oil sunflower would discourage the Blue Jays from being such slobs as well, but I don’t hold a lot of hope.

House Sparrow

House Sparrow, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 400

As it turns out, the muted colors in our yard this time of year provide a pretty nice (if a bit busy) background for bird photography, even in the consistently poor light.  I’m looking forward to a chance at cardinals and finches in that tree with some snow on it!

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 400

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO 400

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/7.1, 1/250s, ISO 200

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/6.3, 1/125s, ISO 200

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>