Sunday, January 11, 2009

Who visits the feeder?

The Cactus wren mostly eat insects, so I don't see them at the feeder much, but yesterday after all the others had left both of them were out there pecking at the suet cake. This first picture was taken through the window so it isn't the best but it shows both of them together. The Cactus Wren form permanent pairs, and they defend their territory where they live all through the year.

This little Cactus Wren is determined to build another nest in the big scary Cholla. He was hopping all over this morning, collecting dried grass and flying each piece up to the cactus.

The Curved Bill Thrasher who also likes to hang out in the Cholla, was a little camera shy and turned his back to me when I caught him sitting on the fence. These birds are on the decline due to urbanization. They prefer to build their nests deep in the Cholla cactus.

This Gila Woodpecker is a regular visitor to the feeder, calling out his presence as he arrives and waiting for the smaller birds to depart before he eats. I often see the female at the feeder as well. She doesn't have a red cap. I often hear woodpeckers thumping away on the palm trees, before I actually see them. The Gila Woodpecker makes his nest in the Saguaro cactus- of which there are quite a few in my neighborhood.

The hawk I posted about previously is becoming a regular visitor as well, although I haven't seen him catch anything since that first day. He swoops through the area, and often perches on the fence before flying up into the big pine tree that overlooks my yard. The picture below is vague- he is impossibly camera shy! He seems huge- I am really thinking it is a Coopers Hawk.
In trying to take pictures of the birds that visit my yard, I've come to the conclusion that my little point and shoot camera just doesn't cut it. The more I enjoy the birding side of nature the more I want a better camera. Birds just don't make the easy targets flowers do.


MrBrownThumb said...


What problem do you think you camera poses? The pic quality or the ability to take fasts pictures or get up close?

Dee said...

The problem is the ability to get up close. Any suggestions on a camera for a novice?

Deborah Godin said...

I know what you mean... the choice is tough - better camera or idiot proof camera! You do well with your, I think. And I also think all birds should be required to wear ID numbers and pose nicely once a day, or even once a week with advanced notice. But then it probably wouldn't be as much fun...sigh

Dee said...

Oh Deb- you make me laugh!

Julie said...

Oh...I am so with you on the idea of my getting a better camera for bird picture taking as well!!! You did a great job here, but I would love to be able to take some shots that really get a clear, clear, clear close up! I enjoyed seeing your cactus wren! Those cholla are amazingly sharp and the little birdies like them....weird!!! :)
I am in my bird loving stage of life and I appreciate your pictures very much!!! Thanks!

Leenie said...

Thanks for sharing the bird photos. You are right about the difficulty of getting a clear shot. I covet a zoom lens for my Nikon. But then I would probably need a tripod to keep it steady and then the birds would move....CRAP!

MrBrownThumb said...


Does your camera have a timer and burst mode? Burst modes allow you to take several pictures in rapid succession. If you camera does this you could attach your camera near your feeder set it to take pics then walk away and let the birds come back and snap their pics at the feeder.

When I had a point and shoot Kodak I was able to buy extra lenses for it. See if your camera allows you to add a different lens. You could get a zoom lens and get a little closer.

If you have a Canon power shot and are a bit of a techie Google "CHDK." It stands for Canon Hackers Development Kit. Some clever people have hacked their power shots to do all kinds of neat things like shoot with remotes and do time-lapse photography and have the camera go off when something passes in front of it.