Hummingbird Pictures from Behind

August 13th, 2008

Hummingbirds have invaded my yard over the past few weeks.  I’m really excited about these beautiful birds.  Greens, browns, and reds have been buzzing around my yard.  Laying outside with my baby, we’ve listened as they sing, and watched as they flit from red flower to red flower in search of a meal.  Of course, they’ve also been visiting our hummingbird feeder.  One hummer has decided the he owns our feeder, and when others try to stop for a snack, it swoops down and chases them off.  Despite his best efforts, he cannot guard our hummingbird feeder all day, and other visitors have been able to perch and eat.

I tried hanging my BirdCam, as this provided the best location for photographing my feeder.  But, this was less than successful.  It seems that swaying in the wind has confused the BirdCam, and I’ve had many false positives.  I’ve been extremely impressed by this camera’s accuracy at determining when a bird is present.  It seems that the camera must be firmly mounted to do so.  Lesson learned.

Hummingbirds have been on my mind.  Our store is running a sale on hummingbird feeders.  They are flying and humming around my yard like mad.  And my daughter and I have been enjoying their presence immensly.  I’ll keep my BirdCam pointed at my hummingbird feeder and see what I can catch over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, here are some hummers that made it to my yard.  Great, clear, quality shots…from behind.  Still worth a look.  Can’t wait until I can catch a few from the front feeding on some nectar!  For now, enjoy:

Just Landed.

Now it’s time to eat!

Doves and House Finches

July 23rd, 2008

My platform feeder continues to be active!  The feeder is just outside from where I work.  It is so nice to look out from my desk and see all the birds feeding.

I think my BirdCam may have been a little out of focus, so these shots aren’t the best.  But, there were a few fun ones that I wanted to share.

Dove at Feeder

Another Dove at Feeder

I’ve been enjoying the doves at my feeder lately.

Red House Finches at Feeder

Love those bright red House Finches!

Flying Bird

Gotta love the action shots!

Platform Feeder

July 10th, 2008

My New Feeder!

I’ve had a questionable past with my platform feeder and squirrels, but I think I’ve finally solved my squirrel problem. I originally put up this feeder to encourage Scrub Jays to visit my yard. They are always around my neighborhood, but they don’t seem to want to visit my feeder. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get Scrub Jays to visit regularly, but I have found a ton of finches that are eager for Sunflower seeds. Here’s my story:

This feeder hangs from a huge 28 inch branch hook on my Magnolia tree. It is an inexpensive, recycled platform feeder made by Rubicon. I was hoping that the squirrels in my yard wouldn’t be able to reach the feeder because the branch hook was so massive. While I was happy with the branch hook because it allowed me to hang feeders from high, thick branches on a big tree, it certainly didn’t do anything for squirrel protection. After a few stray birds visited the feeder, the squirrels took over for the next month.

Something had to be done! So, I bought a 12″ squirrel baffle. The feeder was 12″ and so I figured a 12″ baffle would be perfect. Apparently, I hadn’t thought this out too well. The baffle was round and the feeder was square, so this left the sides of the feeder exposed. Pretty soon after that, the squirrels were tipping the feeder over using this corner and collecting their bounty below. Sigh….

So, I took the next step, a put out a 20″ squirrel baffle. Then, the moment of truth. A squirrel carefully climbed down the hook and rested on top of the baffle. Ever so slowly, it crept toward the edge of the baffle…and FELL! I felt kind of bad for the squirrel, but my feeder was now for the birds.

The first few days I had this new setup out, the birds avoided it. But then, a stray House Finch sampled the seed, and pretty soon, the feeder was teeming with birds. Here a few pictures I took with my BirdCam.


Trying to Feed Jays

May 3rd, 2008

I’ve been trying to attract Scrub Jays to my feeders. They don’t seem to like the Squirrel Buster Plus. There are probably two reasons for this: 1) This feeder is a little uncomfortable for such a large bird! The Squirrel Buster Plus can accomodate many birds, but I would think Jays would not enjoy feeding from them. I’ve noticed the Scrub Jays in my yard feeding once or twice from the Squirrel Buster Plus, but they usually avoid it. This is not to say that the Squirrel Buster Plus isn’t a great feeder; the other birds in my yard love it and it really does keep squirrels away. However, it may not be the feeder for my Scrub Jays. 2) Finches. Lots of them! Aggressive finches. I wouldn’t want to hang out with them if I were a Scrub Jay. :)

So, I began looking for an alternative to feed these beautiful birds. I figured a platform feeder would be a good choice because it would give Scrub Jays room to feed comfortably. I tried one out, and sure enough, a Scrub Jay showed up the next day!

My BirdCam caught some wonderful pictures! I’ve uploaded the originals, so they are very detailed. Click on them to enlarge the pictures in my blog post.

But, later in the day, I had a problem. The squirrels started to eye my feeder. I’d used a long branch hook, so I figured the squirrels would at least have a difficult time reaching the feeder. I’d assumed they’d get to it eventually, but I was surprised at how fast they got there! The tray tipped over under the weight of the squirrels, and a whole slew of them had a feast of sunflower seeds! Once it was all gone, this one actually climbed on the feeder hanging on its side to finish the remaining seeds!

The Jay returned. Not much to eat now. :(

So…. How did the squirrels get to my bird feeder? They climbed up the tripod I used for the BirdCam. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll need to pole mount a feeder, use a squirrel baffle, and then use the BirdCam Mounting Arm above the squirrel baffle.

Squirrels are persistent!

Trying to Photograph a Hummingbird

February 25th, 2008

It has been a wet week in Southern California! My feeders have run dry, and I need to get out there and fill them. I couldn’t bare the thought of climbing my tree to fetch my feeders in the rain, so I have put it off. I look forward to the return of the birds!

Before I ran out of food, I noticed that some hummingbirds were feeding from a flower that had recently bloomed in my yard. I set up my BirdCam to catch the action, but they never returned. Oh well. No hummingbirds this week. But, I did get some pictures of the mourning doves that like to visit my yard.


I also got a picture of a sparrow ground feeding.


They were a little blurry. What I was really aiming for was this flower.


No hummingbirds. :( Oh, well.

Remember, you still have until the end of the month to submit your reports to The Great Backyard Bird Count. Here’s what I saw in my yard:

Sunday February 17, 2008
7 House Finches
2 Mourning Doves
1 Black Phoebe
1 Hummingbird (Couldn’t identify type…too fast!)
2 Gulls (Couldn’t identify type…too high and too fast!)

Monday, February 18, 2008
1 Orange-crowned Warbler
10 House Finches
10 Goldfinches
1 White-crowned Sparrow
1 Mourning Dove
1 Hummingbird (Couldn’t identify type…too fast!)

Goldfinches!

February 15th, 2008

A lot has happened at my feeders over the last week. I put out some Nyjer in a stocking in an effort to give my House Finches more feeding options. The next morning, I was shocked to find Goldfinches! OK, I guess this isn’t that surprising. But, I’ve never seen a Goldfinch in my yard before, so I was surprised that they found my Nyjer stocking that quickly. I wonder what other types of birds would come to my yard if I offered more feeding options. Let’s see…I already have a window feeder, a Nyjer stocking, a sunflower seed feeder, and a hummingbird feeder. My yard is getting complicated fast! :)

I’ve spent the week marveling at this new addition to my yard. Goldfinches are much duller in the winter, but it is still fun to watch a new bird. My BirdCam took 100s of pictures, but I have narrowed it down to a few favorites.

The look like they are about to kiss! :)



There is some color!

Here are some other shots that I thought were interesting. The House Finches seem to be enjoying the Nyjer just as much as the Goldfinches are. Take a look at some of the coloring on these finches. They are simply beautiful!




The Orange-crowned Warbler that I wrote about in a previous blog post continues to visit my hummingbird feeder. At this point, this Warbler is a more frequent visitor than the hummingbirds that visit my yard! I really enjoy watching this bird drink nectar.

Finally, my BirdCam has uncovered some disturbing news. A squirrel is after my window feeder! Luckily, it appears that he was not able to reach it. The evidence is blurry, but look carefully. The squirrel is reaching up to my window feeder (which is not in the picture). Let’s hope he can’t crack this nut! :)


Don’t forget The Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend – Feb. 15 to Feb. 18, 2008.

Ground Feeders

February 7th, 2008

I set up my BirdCam early this week to start catching some pictures of the ground feeders under my seed bird feeders. These little guys are willing to wait and catch what falls from the feeder above. Below, you will see the second most common visitor in my yard, the White-crowned Sparrow. Adult White-crowned Sparrows have a distinctive back and white streaked head. Immature White-crowned Sparrows have a similar pattern on their head with much more subdued gray and brown colors. I see these birds everyday in my yard, but I have never seen one fly up to one of my feeders. They prefer to wait below!




House finches, house finches, house finches. They are everywhere in my yard!



That’s it! I was a little disappointed that the two Mourning Doves that live in my yard didn’t show up on the BirdCam. I have seen them ground feeding several times, but I have yet to capture a picture of them. They have a spot they like to perch in on my tree, but when I approach to take a picture they always fly away.

And now, for the number one ground feeder in my yard!


Hummingbird Feeder Watch

February 3rd, 2008

I haven’t had my hummingbird feeder out for a couple of days. So, when I put out my nectar feeder I wanted to see my hummers again! I set up my BirdCam (More on this product in a later blog post, stay tuned!) and when I picked up the pictures I had a beautiful one of a hummingbird in flight.

Here’s the same picture without zooming in.


What a stunning little bird. :) I saw him several times the next day feeding. It’s good to have my hummingbirds back!

I think the hummingbirds in my yard were getting annoyed while I had their feeder down. I caught them peeking their head into my sunflower seed feeder a few times. They sure were brave to fly right up to a feeder with twenty house finches fighting for position. — I can hear them fighting right now. House finches don’t like to share. :)

As stunning as this picture was, it was not the most interesting one my BirdCam took. I was shocked to find this little guy at my hummingbird feeder.

I was shocked! What kind of bird was this, and why was it at my feeder? I had to go to the message boards for help identifying this one. The conclusion…..orange-crowned warbler! It looked a little dull to be a yellow warbler. Apparently there are four types of orange-crowned warblers. It looks like this might be the sordida orange-crowned warbler. Taken from All About Birds — The form sordida is the darkest green and is found only on the Channel Islands and locally along the coast of southern California and northern Baja California.

Here’s a shot of this warbler feeding on nectar.

I saw this bird several more times today at my hummingbird feeder. It’s been fun to watch this little guy. I keep wondering what my hummingbirds think of all this. :)