Hungry birds

Fall weather brings cold nights which can be challenging for small birds.  The next morning they hit the bird feeders with voracious appetites, but there is only room for the dominant few.  On a recent chilly start to the day, I looked out my porch window and saw this scene.

The bushes were quivering with hungry goldfinches.

The perennials were vibrating with the feeding frenzy of hungry goldfinches.

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Seed heads of the Gray-headed Coneflowers were especially popular.

Too focused on feeding to worry about a photographer 5 feet away (behind a window).

Too focused on feeding to worry about a photographer 5 feet away (behind a window).

Lower down in the bushes a Song Sparrow was hunting for seeds as well.

Lower down in the bushes a Song Sparrow was hunting for seeds as well.

Shooting from the window provided some great poses.

Shooting from the window provided some great poses.

Cold fall nights force small birds to burn their meager fat stores to stay warm overnight, leaving them with little energy reserve to fuel the next day’s activity.  Fall weather with its unpredictable temperatures and precipitation is a major source of mortality, especially for juvenile birds.  Even more reason for them to follow their parents around to the best food sources.

7 thoughts on “Hungry birds

  1. I am very surprised the photographs were taken behind a window, it doesn’t seem to have affected the quality. Have you any tips on taking birds from behind the window apart from having the window clean?

  2. Actually, the windows aren’t very clean — they have little grandkid finger smudges all over them. These photos were taken in the early morning, with the birds on the shady side of the porch, so there was no reflection of indoor or outdoor images coming through the glass. I try to aim the camera straight toward the birds (as much as possible) to reduce the refractive error of looking through glass at an angle. That’s about all the tips I have for you. The position of the light when you take the photo is the most critical thing.

    • That helps a lot. I had never considered the position of the camera lens against the glass to reduce refractive error nor the reflection of the light on the window. Tips have been shared with my husband who is more the bird person in the house.

      • I also stand back from the window, rather than putting the lens right up next to the glass. When I’m using the telephoto lens (as in the photos of the goldfinch and song sparrow), it blurs out what is in the immediate foreground (window) as well as what is in the distant background, and thus just focuses on the image itself. This technique might not work as well when using a standard 50 mm or wide angle lens which tends to make the whole image flatter, with foreground and background all in focus. I hope that helps describe it a little better.

    • I agree — it seems to be a bountiful year here as well. And acorns everywhere, so many that the squirrels have only harvested half of the walnuts in my yard.

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