Monday, April 21, 2008

Bird Nest experiment results for Apr 20-21, 2008

If you haven't been following my backyard bird nest experiment from the beginning you will find the original post about it here:

After two days of sporadically watching the nest helpers I can tell that the biggest challenge in documenting this experiment for you is going to be photographing the birds in action. I saw some chickadees and a goldfinch at the nest helpers yesterday, but by the time I got the lens cap off the camera, turned it on, and got it focused I had missed the shot.

I have also found that the auto-focus on my camera is driving me a bit crazy because it tends to focus on the closest branches instead of on the subject I am trying to photograph. So I’ve turned off the auto focus and manual focusing is taking extra time. At one point yesterday I was trying really hard to catch a chickadee in the act of inspecting one of the dog fur nest helpers. I was sure she would come back so I just stayed focused on that spot. After a while I opened my other eye and caught some movement at the bull rush fluff nest helper. There was a goldfinch inspecting it!!! But by the time I had re-focused over there I had missed the action…this was the best shot that I managed to get and it isn’t at all convincing that this goldfinch had been rummaging through the bull rush fluff with his beak just seconds earlier :o(

The most heart-pounding moment came yesterday when I saw a chickadee inspecting the feather nest helper. In my haste to grab the camera off the counter I almost dropped it in the kitchen sink!

So I think that when I’m trying to take pictures from now on I’ll put the camera on the tripod and leave it there, all set up and ready to go. I guess I’ll just focus on one spot and hope for the best.

We definitely have a chickadee nesting or planning to nest in this little birdhouse. I’m kind of surprised – this will be the first year that a chickadee uses it. Normally this house is used by sparrows, so I’m thrilled that a chickadee seems to have moved in. I can’t wait to clean it out in the fall and show you the chickadee nest which will most likely be made up of green moss and dog fur (and maybe a few feathers).

During the afternoon this chubby groundhog came lumbering along. He wasn’t shy and definitely wasn’t hard to photograph. He came around the feeders a bit, then came up the steps of our deck and walked around the perimeter before going along on his merry way again. Pretty cute eh?

OK, so back to the experiment. Here’s what’s been happening for the last two days. Basically the chickadees are busy inspecting and possibly taking some of the dog fur and feathers. There was a goldfinch inspecting the bull rush fluff and other than that I haven’t seen much activity yet. We’ve got loads of juncos around the feeders and in the crabapple tree but they haven’t shown any interest at all in the nest helpers. So either it’s too early for them to be nesting, or maybe I haven’t put out anything that interests them.

There were lots of visitors at the feeders yesterday – we had blue jays, the usual gang of red-winged black birds, grackles and cow birds, some starlings, a few sparrows and mourning doves, a pair of hairy woodpeckers, some pigeons and crows in addition to lots of goldfinches, chickadees and juncos. I wasn’t able to spend too much time watching them yesterday because I was busy working at my day job. Today I will be out at Fauna doing my volunteer work so I won’t be able to watch for a good part of the day today either.

But it’s still early in the nesting season and I know there will be much busier days ahead...I can’t wait!
Kathleen (aka TheNatureNut)


Simply Wired Custom Jewelry said...

This is awesome! I love watching my backyard birds. I'm looking forward to reading more from your posts.

Christopher And Tia said...

awwwww, look at that groundhog!! sooo cute!!

littlebird said...

that groundhog is just adorable, well done you for getting to photograph him ; )