Monday, March 12, 2012

Clowns of The Bird World!

We spend a lot of money on bird seed. Or at least it seems that way sometimes. But my wife and I love to watch the birds around our feeders, especially in the winter when their color may be the only thing to break the monotony of winter grey. But even during the summer, they are a constant source of wonder and even humor.

No bird captures all of that more than Chickadees. I never saw these funny little birds growing up in Florida but they are now my favorite, hands down. They are fearless, often sitting just above my head while filling the feeders, chirping down at me as if telling me to hurry up so they can get back to eating. There is a park not far from where we live where the Chickadees are so used to humans they will eat out of your hands. I haven't quite gotten our birds to do the same, but I'll keep trying! They will hang upside down on branches or feeders it seems just for the fun of it. They flit around from feeder to branch, from tree to tree and like all small animals they move quickly.

All of that makes them very hard to photograph well. I would estimate that for every ten or fifteen photos I take of them only one is worth keeping. But even that makes me laugh as I patiently sit outside in the heat and the cold or - more often in the winter - as I wait at our kitchen window which looks out at several feeders.

This picture was taken about four weeks ago in mid-February. And in this case it was too cold to be outside shooting, so I caught this little guy in the maple outside of our kitchen in between flits to the feeder. There was still light, fluffy snow on the branches that had fallen overnight and you can see the red leaf buds at the ends of the branches as well. It was bright out through a solid overcast so the light is wonderfully even without harsh shadows. As usual, I was laughing at the Chickadees, with all the snow on the ground there were at least ten of them in this one tree and they put on a show of their complete comedy routine for me. I cropped this for composition, made some slight adjustments to color and temperature and I dodged his eye to make the catchlights in it stand out a little better.

If you have these little guys where you live, you know what I mean about them being the clowns of the birds, if not, enjoy the picture!

Let me know what your favorite backyard bird is!


Unknown said...

Beautiful photo. Saw a cardinal today - first one! My grandmother used to leave peanuts on the table on her back porch for the bluejays. We watched them out her kitchen window. This post brought be back to grandma's house for a few minutes. Love it!

Brenda Ockun said...

Whoops! Posted before I typed my name! The first comment was from me.

ljmendes said...

Can you post f-stop, ISO, focal length settings for your pictures. Additionally do you always save as raw files and then convert to tiff or jpeg? Finally does the type of SD card (speed, quality etc.) make a huge difference?

As far as birds are concerned, if that little rat b@$t@^& hadnt chewed up the back of my house, I would have voted for him as the best backyard bird. Maybe I should check with you and Kim re: the right birdfeeder for woodpeckers. We also have a suicidal cardinal who is our alarm clock. He crashes into the window of our living room every morning between 6 and 7. Went away for a while in Dec/Jan but came back in Feb. Another fascinating bird observation was a homicidal bluejay who just tore apart another little bird (not sure what kind) at our neighbor's bird feeder. Definitely want to spend some time with you to learn about shooting wildlife Also need to learn some Adobe Photoshop tricks.

Charles Perez said...

Lyndsay, I shot this in Aperture Priority mode at f/8,1/400 sec at ISO 200. I usually shoot RAW and JPEG (I get one of each for each shutter trip) and use the RAW files for adjustments, etc and to create the JPEGs I use on the site. We should get together to discuss!

Thanks for the kind words, Brenda! I'm glad it evoked some good memories for you. I'm surprised you're just now seeing Cardinals; we have them at our feeders all winter-long.

BZ said...

Really like your chickadee. My favorites are the Eastern Bluebirds. Just starting to show up in the past week.