Finches and perches

As I posed the question back in November, “is this going to be a great year for winter photography?”  I made reference to the Winter finch forecast.  As it turns out, we have seen a variety of finches this winter and this morning we made a trip early this morning to a friend’s residence in the country where she has been having daily visits from a large flock of Evening Grosbeaks.  I last saw Evening Grosbeaks back in October with my friend David and as always, I am trying for better images.  The Evening Grosbeak is a very conspicuous finch and often travels in flocks and it is very gratifying to hear their chips and warbles as they announce their presence to each other high in the trees before they land at a food source.  They are very efficient eaters and according to Hinterland Who’s Who, a single Evening Grosbeak was observed to eat 96 sunflower seeds in 5 minutes.  During the winter, the large bill is bone-coloured but turns green to match the fresh deciduous buds and leaves and also the new needles that will tip the spruce boughs around the site where the bird’s nest will be built a few weeks.

Evening Grosbeak 00Evening Grosbeak 01Evening Grosbeak 02Evening Grosbeak 03 - femaleEvening Grosbeak 04Evening Grosbeak 05 - femaleEvening Grosbeak 06Evening Grosbeak 07

The second part of the this post is something I have been diligently working on and that is pre-planning the perch or final composition of the subject.  I can’t make birds land on a perch but at least I can hope that they do and plan for the eventuality.   I have several bird feeders in my back yard which attracts a variety of birds.  I contribute my sightings data to Project Feederwatch who in turn take this information to help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term-trends in bird distribution and abundance.  Project Feederwatch is operated by the Cornell lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.  On each of my feeders I have attached some sort of branch or other pleasing natural subject.  For example, the Common Redpolls are here in abundance and they all try to land on the nyger feeder at once and sometimes there isn’t enough room so hopefully one will end up on my perch.  I have my camera setup pointing out my back window, patiently waiting for the birds to land on the perch and sometimes they do but it is usually for the briefest of moments.  I hope you enjoy the results as much as I do.

Red Poll and SumacMourning DoveRed-bellied WoodpeckerCommon Redpoll


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  1. Scott Martin March 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Thanks for the most informative post and thanks for providing your research data to Project Feederwatch Arni. As always your photography is superb, however the male Redpoll is absolutely perfect….I’m certain it will find its way to your printer many times!

    • Arni March 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      Thanks Scott, at the very least, the Redpoll will be in the 2014 calendar!