Saturday, December 4, 2010

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Finding Birds

I have found the best way for me to find birds to photograph is to find the food they love to eat. Out at the landfill that means different things at different times of the year. It seems many times out there it is a boom or bust kind of situation. There have been many times when I have seen hundreds of American Goldfinches feeding on unknown weeds or Common Sunflowers. Other times warblers and others descend in droves on the dogwood berries during fall migration. During the summer there was a lot of construction at the landfill, and subsequently, a lot of recently planted wheat. Wheat is often planted and covered with straw to prevent soil erosion, it grows quickly and can withstand cold better than most other ground covers. All that wheat on the ground has attracted more Mourning Doves than usual and a nice group of Horned Larks as well.

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove

Right now it seems the birds are devouring the Japanese Honeysuckle berries as fast as they can. The stuff grows profusely along the woodland edges at the landfill. Japanese Honeysuckle is one of the most invasive species there is, nonetheless, the birds seem to enjoy the berries it produces. I have heard before that Japanese Honeysuckle berries are an "ecological trap", meaning that the berries are attractive to the birds but offer little in the way of actual nutrition. Even if this is true the birds do not seem to notice because they guard their patch of honeysuckle fervently, especially the Northern Mockingbirds. Here is a short list of birds I have found in the honeysuckle patch yesterday: Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, White-throated Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Golfinch, House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Rusty Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler and of course American Robins. The berries are going quick so I may have to find a new spot to photograph birds soon.

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Chickadee

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

2 comments:

dreamfalcon said...

This is a great way to find birds - look for their favorite eating spots! Great photos!

Michael said...

'Enjoyed browsing through your blog - a misguided Sandhill Crane is lingering at our landfill, here in northern Ontario:

http://northshorenature.blogspot.com/2010/12/sandhii-crane-remains-at-marathon-dump.html

It's hanging out with Herring and Glaucous Gulls, Common Ravens and Bald Eagles through -20C temps. 'Hope it migrates soon!

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