Impromptu Chickadee Portraiture: Better Luck Next Time
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.
Baby Jena Wants to Feed the Birds, Too getting a worm from Grandma to give to the chickadee -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D700 + 50mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Baby Jena Wants to Feed the Birds, Too
getting a worm from Grandma to give to the chickadee

The birds always hound us for snacks whenever and wherever they see us, such as I've posted about here, here, and here, among others. But when Jena stepped up to feed them, I had to take a picture.

I then spent a few minutes outside with my Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 macro, and a chickadee obliged to come around...

Scruffy -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos

Unfortunately, the scene was dark and backlit — not a great situation for a black & white bird — and this one was moulting so it's really scruffy, so the result is lacking on many fronts.

Lots of Detail when you click through to the larger version -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Lots of Detail
when you click through to the larger version
“Yo, Am I Gunna Get a Worm, or What?” -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/4, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
“Yo, Am I Gunna Get a Worm, or What?”

I didn't want to spend more than a minute or two, so this was as close as I got; the Voigtländer can get a lot closer. I'm going to have to work out something some early morning when the sun is low enough to shine directly in, and see whether I can get some better shots. And perhaps I'll wait for a bird that's not moulting.

All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

Just a quick note of explanation: The netting that the chickadee is clinging to was hung from the glass on the doorway with small suction hooks,( and several have loosened for obvious reasons). The room overlooking the veranda is mostly windows, and with all the birdfeeders there, birds often would , when startled, mistake the reflection for open sky . Unfortunately, many would injure or kill themselves against the glass, especially the youngsters.
I found that stretching netting (used to cover fruit trees) across the banks of windows and the glass in the door, solved the problem. It nearly eliminated these sad accidents. From inside the house the netting is not noticed unless one’s son is focusing a camera on it. ,nor is it obvious from the outside. Might not be the solution for every window, but it sure works for us and our dearly-loved wild birds.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on August 6th, 2010 at 11:20am JST (13 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

When you post blog entries from the U.S. your blog takes on a family album/ slide show feel. You really get a sense that you are enjoying yourself or relaxing somewhat. (Taking pictures of birds and kids).

Later in the year our family will be making our annual pilgrimage to Japan, and I find myself having this false-nostalgia/homesickness (I was born in the U.S, 100% gaijin, how can I be homesick for Japan?). I really look forward to the Japanese food, things like tataki, yuzu/sudachi and japanese junkfood.

When you come back to the States, is there any American Food that you just can’t wait to eat?

Hah, relaxing… I saw that in the dictionary once. Doing all the fun family stuff doesn’t turn off the flood of email that I can’t handle on the best of days anyway, so it’s pretty gruesome… I’m just postponing the pain. As for food, there’s not much I can’t get in Japan except perhaps good microwave popcorn, and Mom’s cooking. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ron Evans on August 6th, 2010 at 1:06pm JST (13 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Do the wild birds take food from bird feeders? If so, then how do they remain wild?

Sure, there are feeders all over. Asking how they remain wild in the presence of a bird feeder is like asking why a lemonade stand at a busy stadium doesn’t solve world hunger. —Jeffrey

— comment by parv on August 6th, 2010 at 10:50pm JST (13 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Actually, Parv, that was a good, and commonly-asked question.

Some feel that putting out birdfeeders will make the birds dependent on them, and if for some reason feeding is stopped, they will die because they have forgotten how to forage, especially in winter.. Those who really know about birds realize it isn’t true….far from it.
Nature provides for all her creatures, in all seasons. Putting out food for any wild creature might be compared to a card table in your front yard with your extra tomatoes and zucchini for sale…If a neighbor driving by is really hungry for fresh tomatoes, he would find it very convenient to stop rather than drive further to the supermarket.

But there is no danger of him developing a dependency on your card table.

Birds like to feed at feeders because much of what they like/need is right there at their billtips. For parents feeding youngsters, it helps fill little tummies just that much quicker and gives the frazzled parent a little respite. Brief, but still an appreciated respite, as any parent will attest.

It is possible to feed worms like mealworms in feeders, but in my experience it is a waste of worms. The jays will empty it in seconds, not minutes, and chickadees, titmice and nuthatches will try to beat them to it, taking every single worm and, after eating their fill, will hide any extras in the bark of trees.

This, in turn, will later feed them, and other birds in the neighborhood who are looking within tree bark for hidden food.

I prefer to handfeed the worms to the birds feeding nestlings, but obviously I can’t be outside all the time. When I’m not, the birds do just fine, even if they must work just a little harder.

However, when I do go outside, I’m recognized for the pushover I am, and getting from here to there without being bugged, er…I mean birded, is hard, unless there is a hawk about, or it’s dark. I’ve had birds follow me into the house, and have also nearly slammed the car door on persistent chickadees. If the window happens to be down, they will come in anyway.

At certain times of year, particularly in nesting season, I may be greeted in the morning by 15 to 20 very impatient birds who have awakened earlier than I. Other times, like this time of year, with so much insect and seed bounty available, many of them seldom appear. And frankly I miss them. I hear them calling and singing, but they don’t seem to need anything I may offer.

But I know they’ll be back, often from year to year, even those that migrate south in winter. They will suddenly appear on my lap just as if they haven’t been gone for 6 months.

These birds are my friends, but not my pets. I never try to hold one, though there are times when I wish I could.

I love them, but realize they consider me merely a means to fast food.

Many have learned to trust me, many to take me for granted, and others positively order me around.

I don’t anthropomorphise, well, to any great extent, nor do I kid myself into thinking they “really like me.” The relationship might be considered like a customer and a vending machine. Not too much real affection shared there.

Nevertheless, these birds have brought me much pleasure over the years, and are a great stress reliever as I sit with them. I am grateful for their song, their beauty, their antics, and their presence. I feel blest.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on August 7th, 2010 at 1:56am JST (13 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

From Grandma Friedl’s comment: “I feel blest”

I thought I actually had you there, Mom. I thought for ONCE in my ENTIRE LIFE I caught you on a spelling error. But I had to look it up, just to be sure.

Well, darn.

Not only is “blest” correct, I now know I have been incorrectly using “blessed” (two syllables) for my whole life. Sigh.

On the other hand, if I actually HAD caught Mom in a misspelling, the Earth would have probably started to spin the opposite direction or rotate the other way around the sun or something. I’m sure we’re all better off this way.

— comment by Marcina on August 7th, 2010 at 3:26am JST (13 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink
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