Friday, December 12, 2008

Backyard Birds

Have you ever taken something for granted? It turns out that I really didn't appreciate all the birds that frequented the yard where we used to live. Our neighbor there had been feeding the birds for decades, and I could count on picking up my camera during any time of the day and be able to at least point it at a house sparrow.

Fast forward to our new house, and things have been a little different. I've had my sunflower seed feeder hanging for quite some time, and during middle fall, it did get some heavy use. Mostly from white breasted nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, and even a red bellied woodpecker. Lately, however, it seems those birds have abanonded our neighborhood altogether and I'm not sure why. I certainly miss them, so I decided to do something about it.

Perhaps I could attract other ground feeding birds to our yard by casting seed about? That is what my neighbor Marvin did every day, and it really brought in the birds. So I bought some seed two weeks ago, and started putting it out throughout the yard. A few piles below the feeders, a few piles on the top of fence posts, a little bit scattered around our large bur oak tree, and finally, a dash of seed on our deck.

The squirrels found the seed quickly- but would the birds come? Well, it only took about three days, and I had juncos coming to the seed. Unfortunately for me, I work during the daylight hours, so I hadn't been able to get any images of birds. Last year at this time, I was taking tons of bird photos, and I have really missed photographing our feathered friends.

Finally, this afternoon, I had an opportunity to point the camera at several juncos who have now found the seed piles and have told their friends.

I can't wait to have some more free time to get good shots of these birds. Sun will help, and so will my tripod. I didn't have time to set it up this afternoon. And I probably won't be getting any more shots this weekend- we'll be have guests from NE. Ohio, New York City, and Maine visiting us.

Tomorrow we're having Megan's graduation party. Finally, this weekend, she'll officially be hooded and receive her PhD from The Ohio State University. I'm proud of her, and now, we can claim that we have a doctor in the family!

Enjoy the weekend,



  1. Congratulations to Megan!
    Sounds like you could use one of those birdcams. One of my blogger friends sells them, if you're interested.
    I hear you on taking birds for granted, as well. It hit home after Hurricane Gustav, when 99% of our plethora was just suddenly...gone. I'm greatly heartened by the gradual return of many of them recently, combined with the arrival of our Winter visitors. Our yard is alive again. :)

  2. I love your junco shots. I have trouble getting photos of the ground feeders. I seem to get all tops of heads and backs and they hop around so much, I can't keep up! Now I can just come and enjoy your shots :-) Have patience with the other birds...they'll come. Congratulations to Megan...well done!

  3. I bet you do miss the birds- it was annoying when the seed piles at the old house attracted raccoons, but the birds were always fun to look at. Thank you for your help with a great party last night and a completely successful graduation today. We did it!

  4. I hope more birds will follow the juncos, so you can take all the "bird shots" you want. Thanks for a wonderful party, and weekend. Great job in supporting Megan in every way. Congrats, Megan, you are so , so deserving!

  5. It's nice to see how proud you are of your wife...congrats to Megan! I don't think I took all of our birds for granted, but since I've taken in the stray cats, they shy away from our feeders..and I do miss seeing them terribly. Nice to see your Junco shots!

  6. I have those too, but not this year. I had to stop feeding, because it attracted all kinds of other, rodens. I think we had an army of mice running on our roof...and those late nights scratches in the window, lol, scary. Mistake was that we used poison, so something died in the vent, it was stinky for weeks....
    Anna :)

  7. Thanks Lana- This is something that I definitely need to look into. It seems really cool.

    Thanks Mary. Fortunately, we have a sliding glass door, so I shoot with my belly on the floor looking out- I'm only about one foot higher than the birds.

    Thanks Megan- Yes, daytime Racoons was kinda crazy.

    Thanks Mom!

    Spooky- Yep, cats will do it. I'm wondering how our neighborhood kitty Mo impacts the local bird life.

    Anna- That sounds awful! Megan is worried about vermin. Hopefully Mo (the neighborhood cat) will keep doing his job.


  8. Tom: If I had seen this first maybe I would have remembered a Junco.