Saturday, March 21, 2009


Skip mentioned a problem with commenting on blogspot, you have to sign in. I am sorry about that, but that is their policy. In any event, I have decided to post future posts there. So, go to blogspot to get the latest bird pics and videos.

Posted by Dave at 6:07 PM
Edited on: Sunday, March 29, 2009 12:18 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Ah Ha!

Last time I said that I did not see any pine siskin, but I was wrong. Now that I know what to look for, they are popping up all the time. Look for the yellow near the tail. Here are some, one, two and three. So, I wondered if there were any redpolls masquerading as male house finch. This one had me going for awhile, but it is a HOFI. So far, I haven't seen any redpolls.

Skip caught this with the web cam. The Birdcam caught one, too. Speaking of the Birdcam, the Wingscapes people extended my warranty by another year, since they sent me a new camera. Very good customer service!

I finally got a good pic of a dark eyed junco. It only took about a year and a half! The carolina wren makes another rare appearance. Since I moved the web cam, I don't see many pics of this guy anymore.

At first I wasn't sure what this was, but I believe it is a mockingbird. I caught one on top of the feeder, too. Here are a couple of titmice, one and two. And you always see chickadees with titmice, one, two and three.

Finally, we are expecting a snow storm tonight. Here is one to help get in the mood.

Posted by Dave at 5:34 PM
Edited on: Sunday, March 01, 2009 5:42 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Once again it is time for the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 13-16. The Bird Count and participation is down for the first time in five years. I am sorry that I do not have time for it, kudos to those that do!

The hanging feeder sort of took the fun out of the birding pics thing. In the first two full days, I had pics of almost all my fav species. Since then, I have been getting hundreds of pics a day, mostly similar to this. When I see these pics, I keep trying to find something new, like Pine Siskin. They are similar to female house finch, and they show up with goldfinch, but so far I haven't seen any. Sometimes doves fill the feeder, and sometimes sparrows. I have been using a fruit and nut mix with seeds, but I tried Trail Mix, a Waste Free feed. This is advertised as inspired by the Peterson Field Guides, so I assumed it should be good! Well, it attracts too many starlings. I have three bags to use up, I will not buy more. I hadn't seen the Carolina wren lately, but it showed up here. The titmice and cardinal still visit and the chickadees make the occasional stop. The goldfinch started to get their golden color, and the male HOFI have turned a dark red.

I wouldn't be surprised to see robins show up soon. I am thinking about getting a ground feeder with a roof. The one I have is not covered, and the suet went bad before anything ate it. Duncraft wants $79.95 for this one. That seems kind of steep to me.

Posted by Dave at 6:04 PM
Edited on: Sunday, February 15, 2009 6:05 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Lots of Pics

I saw a page about house wrens. They take over the nests of other birds, such as chickadees, nuthatches, bluebirds and others. They destroy the eggs, which will wipe out the other species. I panicked, knowing that wrens started showing up here. Luckily, the wren that I have been seeing is a Carolina wren, which is not destructive to other nests. The Carolina wren has a stripe over the eye.

Continuing my trend of never getting a good pic of a junco, here is one, and here is another. Late this afternoon I saw what looked like a fat HOSP. The lighting was not good for trying to get a pic. Here and here are a couple of heavily edited pics. I'm not sure what it is.

I've seen quite a few pics of titmice. Here and here are a couple. I always see the titmice and chickadees together so it is a mystery why I don't see more chickadees in the pics, but here and here are a couple.

One thing I do see is a lot of goldfinch. I thought they liked nyjer seed, but I don't see them on the nyjer sock. Here is a goldfinch posing. seven goldfinch, eight Goldfinch, can't even count the goldfinch!

I haven't seen many nuthatch, but here is one. And here is a downy. And finally, a pair of jays. Phew! Glad that's done!

Posted by Dave at 5:59 PM
Edited on: Monday, February 02, 2009 4:57 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hanging Feeder

Someone wrote Jack Hubley, asked what they can do about squirrels. Jack said, if you have a bird feeder, you pretty much are going to have squirrels! He said, you may as well enjoy them! He showed a video of a squirrel, flying around on a stick, that was mounted on a spring. That was a home made squirrel feeder, and looking around on line, I didn't see anything close to it. I did see some interesting feeders, though. I sort of liked the squirrel under glass, and there was a twirl a squirrel. My favorite was a squirrel bungee. You hang an ear of corn on the end, and watch squirrels bounce around on it. I ordered the bungee from Doctors Foster and Smith, along with some of their Big Ol Kobs.

When I went out to clean the birdbath this evening, I saw a downy in the tree. It was chirping away, hopping from branch to branch around the tree. I got the camera, and stood out there for about 5 minutes, waiting for it to go to the suet feeder. When it finally did, it kept the feeder between us so I couldn't get a pic. I did get a shot of it in the tree, and it turned out to be a male. This is the first that I knew for sure that there is a male.

After a couple of days at the new feeder, the Birdcam caught quite a few of my favorite birds. A dove, a goldfinch posing, two titmice, five goldfinch, the male cardinal, and another titmouse. This pic everybody is on the lookout! When I filled this feeder, I figured I would see more chickadees than ever. Turned out, I only got one good pic.

Posted by Dave at 5:56 PM

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Birdcam

The Wingscapes people sent me a replacement Birdcam this week, at no cost to me. My camera was over ten months old, so I was very pleased. I only had it out for a couple of days, but I caught the male and female cardinals. I wanted to point the camera at the platform feeder, but the weather has not been cooperative.

I think that I figured out the problem with the webcam, so I moved it outside again. As soon as I had it outside, before I even had a chance to adjust the picture, I saw this wren. Later, it started snowing, so I clicked this pic. I will have to keep an eye on the webcam. If it stops again, I will try insulating the enclosure. I don't think the problem was caused by the cold, but who knows? I didn't have it outside during the extreme cold weather that we had. I recorded a low of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit the other night. I couldn't blame it for not working in that kind of weather!

Posted by Dave at 6:31 PM
Edited on: Sunday, January 18, 2009 6:35 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Webcam Relocated

I moved the web cam to the outdoor enclosure. I think the quality is better, but you can't expect too much out of this camera and lens. Here is a pic that Skip captured from the web cam when it was inside. Compare it to the ones from today. A Goldfinch, a chickadee, the male cardinal, and the ever present HOSP and HOFI. Click here to view the web cam. Use the name nhpa, nhpa1, nhpa2 or nhpa3 and the pass is birder. (The cam is bookmarked on the right hand side of this blog.)

I also enabled the sound on the web cam. I heard some geese flying overhead, so being in the enclosure doesn't block it entirely I did hear a noise from time to time, I believe it may be the enclosure's heater, I'm not sure. Mostly, I don't think the sound adds a whole lot.

The Wingscapes camera is still not 100%, but I think I have a handle on the problem. It seems moisture gets inside when it rains, then it takes a day or so to dry out. I hope to hear from the Wingscapes service people this week. So far they have been pleasant to deal with. I found the receipt, I bought it in March of 2008. I can't believe it has been that long! The camera did not capture anything special lately, except for this oddity! A wren feeding from the bottom?

I plan to move the Wingscapes camera to point at the new hanging platform feeder, as soon as it is 100%.

edit- The web cam stopped working today. I tried a number of things, but it is cold and windy outside, so I brought the camera inside. After a couple of hours, and a number of resets later, it is working again. The heater in the housing is working, so I am still not sure why it froze up. I don't feel real inclined to move it back outside!

Posted by Dave at 4:35 PM
Edited on: Sunday, January 11, 2009 2:10 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wingscapes Update

Happy Holidays!

I was in contact with Wingscapes support, and I thought I had the camera working. I got some pics, but then it stopped working again. I pointed the camera in the opposite direction, because the exposure seemed better with the winter lighting. Here are a couple of pics, 3 in the snow, and one of the many chickadees. Wingscapes support is closed for the holidays, but they said that they will replace the camera, if I cannot get it working.

Picasa released an update, and it is very nice! You can view the pics from your computer in a Picasa window. If you do not have Picasa, I recommend it!

Posted by Dave at 8:45 PM
Categories: Backyard Birding

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Last time I had a pic of a robin, so I bought a platform feeder for them. So far, nothing has touched it. Checking into this, it is possible that my robin was in migration, and simply passing through. On the other hand, they are known to over winter. I will keep food available and see what develops.

I have often seen dark eyed juncos feeding on the ground, but I have never caught a good pic of them. In continuing this trend, the Wingscapes camera caught this.

I had to crop this tufted titmouse at the birdbath as well as this chickadee. I walked out to clean the birdbath, and I saw a pair of titmice and several chickadees. I went in to get the camera, and the battery was dead. So I grabbed the other camera, but it only has a 3X lens. I knew they wouldn't let me get close enough, so I thought that I would take a pic, move closer, take another, and keep doing this until they flew off. Good plan, but I hadn't figured on a jogger running past! After the first pic, they were gone. So this is the best that I could do.

Well, I had the Wingscapes camera for about ten months, and it appears to have died. It passes it's self test, but don't get any images. Without images from the Wingscapes, there isn't a Backyard Birder! Until I get this working, the updates will be few and far between.

Posted by Dave at 10:58 AM

Sunday, November 23, 2008


The Wingscapes camera caught a good image of the male cardinal. I like the remnants of the frost on the ground. The temperature has been below average most of the past week, so I was surprised to see this! I guess it is true, some do not migrate. I was curious as to what they eat during the winter, and after checking several sources found that, robins diet comprises of over 60% fruit and berries year round! I still wondered how they found enough to eat, so I thought about trying to feed them. I worried that putting a platform feeder on the ground would set them up for all the neighbor's cats, but how could that be worse than their normal feeding habits? So I ordered this feeder. Also, robins are supposed to eat suet from a platform feeder, so I ordered this to try out.

Finally, these two, one and two, are for Skip, or anyone that does not get to see this sort of thing.

Posted by Dave at 11:44 AM
Categories: Backyard Birding