Friday, March 15, 2013

Bird Feeder Highlights

It looks like Winter is in its last throes... we've had some relatively warm weather here in Southern Ontario, but sub-zero nights have returned with some pretty heavy snow squalls making Spring weather seem a distant notion, and not weeks away.  In fact one afternoon at work, a co-worker and I sat in my office looking out the window in awe as the snow flake clumps visibly grew to small saucers.  They were massive - I'm sure some were 10cm across and definitely the largest I've ever seen.  Although I wished I had had a camera, I'd have missed it anyway, the scene only lasted a few minutes.

This fall the bird feeders went up again, and I added a $10 finch feeder from Canadian Tire to the other little hopper feeder which hangs from the clothes line.  For the finch feeder, I mounted it on an old weathered post and "grafted" tree twigs so when they landed prior to feeding, a natural picture scene might be available.

Before the snow fell, a caught sight of a very shy Carolina Wren skittering through the shrubs under the bird feeder.  I've only seen one of these down south, so it was nice to actually have this bird visit our backyard!  Unfortunately, it's very hard to get a good picture as my experience is that they are extremely shy.  This picture is actually through the sliding door of our kitchen.

Carolina Wren

The biggest hit were some Common Redpolls which found the Nyjer seeds.  I had only seen cute these birds for the first time this year and was very pleasantly surprised to find them at our feeder!

Common Redpoll

The rest are the more common variety, of House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, and Mourning Doves.

male House Finch

Dark-eyed Junco

male House Sparrow in Pin Cherry treee

male American Goldfinch in winter plumage

Male House Sparrow huddling in the protection of the hedge.

We have a Crab Apple tree in the backyard which the House Finches love once the warm sun unfreezes them enough for them to eat some of the fruit.

female House Finch

male House Finch eating Crab Apple fruit

male Northern Cardinal

One feeder I never ended up putting up this year was a suet log made with the boys last year.  I put it off for some reason and never got around to making/getting suet and putting it up.  Thus the reason for the missing woodpeckers which we have seen years before.  Next winter.

Spring is on its way though.  The last week has seen sightings of hundreds of Tundra Swans flying north - a beautiful sight.  I never had my camera with me so have yet to catch the scene on camera.

I'm quite excited with the hope to be getting a new lens... I've been waiting, saving, and searching for a used lens for quite a while.  Right now I'm playing phone and email tag with a lady out in Ajax who has committed to save a used Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG APO OS HSM lens for me that she had up for sale on Kijiji.  We are doing a trip with the family out that way in two weeks and I hope she still has it for me and that it's in good shape.  I'll be sure to provide an update at that point if the deal is done. 


  1. Brian, great posting. Its always exciting to see a Carolina Wren! I've really enjoyed the Sigma 150-500mm over the last 2-3 years. It might take a while to learn 'its ways'... for example, I found that the autofocus does not work well or is too slow for a moving bird, so I would (without looking) know how to set it to manual focus and just manually focus the bird into view. A fair lens for the money. Feel free to email me for more info on pricing/value.

  2. Great pictures from the backyard Brian. Also, that is exciting news about the new lens. I'm looking to upgrade lenses myself in the near future, and I'd be interested to see in how the Sigma performs. You get a lot of nice native birds in your backyard, my Nyjer seed feeder is untouched, and I only get House Sparrows!:( Any tips? Keep up the great posts!

  3. How nice to get Common Redpolls at your feeder! I have only seen them in flight and was unable to get a shot of them. I have been dreaming of the Sigma 150-500 lens after meeting someone who has one and highly recommends it. He gets lots of great shots!


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