BIRDS CAN BE SQUARE TOO #10 – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

BACKYARD BIRDIES IN WILD ABSTRACTION (AND THE NUMBER ISN’T IN ORDER, EITHER)

It was a sunny afternoon and my camera was ready. I was ready. Were the birds ready? That is always the question. As for light, see that hint of golden sun on the trees and the birds? That is the reflection of the late afternoon winter sun. Photography is all about light.

I take pictures every day if there are active birds on the feeders. It’s a timing issue and I have to hope it isn’t the exact same group of birds that seem to actually live on the feeders. When I see enough interesting birds or types of birds, I try sneaking up on them and hope they won’t hide or fly away. I think they are laughing at me as they fly into the woods.

Flying: the bird in front is a Tufted Titmouse and the bird in the back is a woodpecker, either a downy or a hairy.

Last week, I dumped the flat feeder and the very damaged wire feeder. I got a smaller feeder with smooth sides and a rim for birds to hold onto. It is designed for smaller birds. I already owned a finch feeder, but I’d never bought food for it. I had Owen put up a third hook and invested in a small bag of finch food.

A Goldfinch on the finch feeder

It took about 72 hours for the birds to discover the new feeders. For a few days, there were almost no birds. On Sunday, I woke up and looked at the feeders and they were empty. I don’t mean that they needed filling. They were 100% empty, down to the last seed.

Woodpecker and Titmouse

I filled everything up and waited. The Goldfinches are back and so are the woodpeckers. The Cardinals have come home, though they refuse to sit still while I take their picture. I think they should show some appreciation, but they aren’t here as my friends. They just want to eat. I still think they could at least let me take pictures. Show me a little bit of gratitude.

Hairy Woodpecker

They hide on the opposite side of the feeders where I can’t see them. I have to wait for them to decide to ignore me and some days, they manage to elude me until I get tired and give up.

A beautiful Tufted Titmouse … and a surprisingly big oneToday I decided to exhume the SD card from the OMD and see what I had collected. I decided to play around with this batch. Others are less abstract. I admit it. Sometimes, I just want to play with pictures.

24 thoughts on “BIRDS CAN BE SQUARE TOO #10 – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

  1. …. what an utterly delightful collection this is. You (still) have such an exquisite variety of birds and obviously also the very best Gourmand food for your little feathered friends. This looks good enough for me to wish picking a bit here and there!

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    • I had to change foods back to what these guys eat. Many birds and all butterflies are very specific about foods. It’s not that they don’t LIKE your food. Their bodies tell them what they can eat and if that isn’t one of those foods, the won’t eat it. Some birds — the woodpeckers in particular — apparently eat just about anything, The Goldfinches are the least picky of the finches. Others will only eat very specific finch food. But everybody loves black sunflower seeds. Oh, and the doves will eat anything too, but only if it’s on a flat feeder or the ground. They can’t hang by the feet the way other birds do. We do have a fairly good collection, though some seem to have come, stayed a while, and gone. Or maybe I’ve just missed them. Some birds feed VERY early in the morning when the sky is still mostly dark and while I occasionally see them, it’s too dark to take pictures.

      Also, it has been a pretty warm winter, so they are eating more in the woods. There’s a lot of natural food around for them this year since everything isn’t covered in snow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That statement about the doves made me smile. I had (!!! before the storms) two very large feeders on sturdy stands and the doves were, alternating with neighbours’ cats, parking their FAT behinds ON the table, on the food, taking over the ‘plate’ and causing mayhem to the unobservant small birds! I bought 10kg of terrible quality bird seeds from Amazon, NOBODY ate them so I had to throw it away and get decent stuff. The 4 & 5* reviews I looked up for that particular food, was ending end of 2018 and since then it has got mostly 2 & 3* but in my comparison list it still showed up with huge numbers and great evaluation.

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        • IF you have a local place that sells it and they know anything about birds, that’s often the best way to get it. Otherwise, you have to find out what your local birds eat — AND what kind of birds you want to attract. It take a little practice. And the quality of seed does change. Sometimes good seed doesn’t stay good, or they send you very old seed that’s dry and dusty and really, not good enough for food.

          Good bird food isn’t cheap. I keep trying to find cheaper but good quality food and i can’t. If the price is low, the quality is low, too. I once bought western bird food thinking it didn’t matter much. It did matter. My birds wouldn’t touch it.

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          • It is consoling to hear that other people’s birds are choosy too. I went solely by the * system which truly let me down this time. I should have read the critics and THE DATES too. Anyway, we now brought them 2x Swiss food and they LOVE IT….

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              • No stomac cramp complaints so far – they LOVE it and I think there is no big difference of bird population between these two countries. I have however not seen any green woodpeckers, anyway, not to my knowledge. And here they arrived with the whole family and neighbourhood to gorge themselves on the food. It’s amazing how much they eat.

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                • Woodpeckers eat a LOT. Finches also eat a lot. Actually, ALL birds eat a lot, about as much food as their own body weight every day. The bigger birds seem to eat more because they are bigger. But they are all big eaters.

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  2. Lovely birds. I have discovered that the birds also eat breakfast and lunch because they are the busiest times for eating. In between they are probably relaxing somewhere.

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    • They actually eat three meals, but the first one is REALLY early when it’s still mostly dark. I catch either their lunch or dinner act. Today I got lunch. But it’s funny how each meal features different birds. Only the Goldfinch, Titmouses, and Nuthatches are always around. The rest come and go and may not show up for days, then a whole flock drops by. But it’s fun, isn’t it?

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    • I had fun with these photographs. I thought the high contrast might let me play with them … and for once, all of them were reasonably sharp. A bunch weren’t such great pictures and those I deleted in a crazed attempt to keep some hard-drive space by deleting dozens of photographs that are okay, but nothing special. I can’t afford to replace this computer, so eventually, I’ll have to move a lot of folders off this machine and only be able to get to them via externals. Would not have been so big an issue when I was working on a desktop, but the laptop makes it very awkward. I may have to do a sweep starting around 2015 and going up from there. There are whole folders I’ve never even opened. There are more pictures I haven’t processed than have processed, probably half the photos on my drive.

      Meanwhile, It turns out then specially processed pictures take much longer to process than standard shots. So much for doing it all mechanically! I wish. But each picture is just a bit different than any other. Different light, and tones, colors. You CAN treat them all the same, but you don’t get the best results that way. Since this is a hobby, not a profession, I’m not on a hot deadline to get it all done before publication date 😀

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    • The hard part is catching them at the right time. Their world is all about light. We have clocks, but they know when the light tells them it’s time to eat … and that does not necessarily link up with when I’m in the house with a camera at the ready. Still, I’ll keep trying.

      I think Owen is going to build a big flat feeder that sits ON the railing so we can feed the squirrels their own food. They aren’t thrilled with the food I’m feeding birds right now, but I know what they like. I just need somewhere to put it that I can get to for refilling. I like squirrels too and when I don’t see them around, I rather miss them. But it has to be somewhere that doesn’t require I climb a lot of stairs.

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        • They haven’t been around lately. They are probably feeding very early in the morning now that the days have gotten a little longer. But I also think they didn’t like the food. When Owen has time, he’s going to make them their own space. I can give them things that suit them better. Seeds are a fallback position. They are happier with corn and peanuts and other chunkier food.

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