"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Sunday, January 3, 2010

SMILE! You're On Candid Bird Cam

My son and daughter-in-law gave me a bird cam for Christmas and I have become a complete dork over it. First, I had to find a place to set it up, which hasn’t been easy with the winter weather and the birds laying low. I tried five different places in the yard (wading out in drifts and slush to try to stabilize it on a fence or tree) so it would snap a few birds. About all I got were pictures of the dogs racing by, my butt (not included with this post), and pictures of the dogs’ butts.

Ignore the imprint date and time on these shots - I hadn't figured out yet how to fix that...

Evelyn REALLY loves her mom (and vice versa).

I used to be a bird watcher and have tons of field manuals and bird watching books. I asked Husband to pick up some birdseed at Lowes and he grudgingly cooperated. He could see an obsession coming.  He came back astonished at how many different types of birdseed there was (I mentally rolled my eyes - I admit it).   So, once armed, I trudged out in another whirling snowstorm to toss a log on the ground in front of the bird cam and sprinkle birdseed on top. Then I parked myself at the window with the binoculars watching to see if anything would show up. For hours.

When I checked the pictures, I had managed to get a shot of the birdseed sprinkling down but nothing else.

That is old banana bread in lumps by the log. 

Finally, I decided to use my head and put the thing where there is shelter for the birds. Bingo. Thinking like a bird has its advantages. 

The NE corner of the main backyard has a brick post with a flat top.

It is up against a cedar tree and has the fence running along three sides for perching, plus, there are old sticks, a fencepost, brush and logs out there.   Another tree is nearby.  Behind the cedar tree is a long line of trees you can't see in these pictures that give creatures a safe place to travel without crossing an open field where the hawks and owls hang out.

I rested a log on top to set apple slices, seed and a seed cylinder that I got from Wild Birds Unlimited.

Wild Birds Unlimited had some pretty cool seed cylinders.  I stuck some sticks in on the top to try to balance the lid of the feeder but it didn't work too well.   I took the lid off for the pictures but want to keep it to offer some protection from rain.   If anyone asks, lie and tell them that I put in little perches to make it easier on the birds.

It is a nice little protected corner.

I also hung a finch feeder with thistle seed.

I haven't seen too many unusual birds, yet.  I saw a new pair of cardinals, this morning, and a few finches are showing interest in the thistle seed. Wild Birds Unlimited has a nice website with an online bird identification feature, including the calls.  That is new since I used to bird, many years ago.

The land always looks a little empty, even ugly, in the winter but it isn't - it is just teeming with things if you look.

In no time, the birds were showing up but the shots were off – I kept getting about half of their little heads and the cam was too close.   This is one of the better ones:

Birds are kind of evil looking if you get right down to it.

So now, I have adjusted the height of the bird cam, the distance from the food and the frequency of shots.    I am keeping my fingers crossed that I got it right, this time.  The nice thing about birding is that it forces you to look at details instead of just giving the land a swift sweep of the eyes.  You just "see" more when you are looking for information rather than just to gather impressions.

Evelyn has shown a little interest in the apple slices but Pearl has just ignored the whole thing.

It is COLD! We are planning to have a fire, tonight, if husband can find some kindling. I am scared to death he will try to retrieve the logs I set out to hold bird seed.

Happy Quilting (and birding),

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Kathy said...

Penny, I live just south of Joplin, MO and love bird-watching also. We live in the country and have many birds at the feeder. I have my feeder about five feet from the french doors at side of the house. Today dh brushed off four inches of snow and feed the birds. The birds came before he could get back inside. Kathy

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Shogun said...

I think I could get obsessed very fast with a bird cam. What kind of bird is that anyway?

Penny said...

Kathy - they be hungry, for sure. Thanks, Anon - and I have lots more TIME to be creative! Shogun, I believe that is just a Mockingbird.

lindaschiffer said...

>Birds are kind of evil looking if you get right down >to it.

Well, yeah! LOL :) Remember that movie, Jurassic Park? The best current info (as I understand it:) is that birds are not 'descended from dinosaurs,' they actually ARE the living remnants of dinosaurs (closest relatives are those raptors:).

'Course they have evil eyes, at close range. Come to that, scaly skin on legs is a bit odd, too. LOL Doesn't stop me from enjoying them and their songs, though.

:) Linda

swooze said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

What a great gift you have there!

BilboWaggins said...
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BilboWaggins said...

I think Linda is right, to the best of my knowledge current understanding is that birds are just dinosaurs, fortunately not velociraptor sized ones.

Great programme on BBC last night about dogs, genetically, they are 99.8% wolf. Maybe nothing has evolved that far after all.

Love your camera, we're planning on getting a nestbox cam at some point.

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