Saturday, December 22, 2007

Carolina Chickadee

Today when I went out to fill up the bird feeders, I heard the call of the chickadee and knew they were close by. I stopped in my tracks and gave a quick visual search through my neighbors shrubs. There were two of them right in front of me. I've spotted them at my feeders before but not very often. They are usually in and out so quick, I wasn't even 100% sure that I was really seeing a chickadee. I was so excited, I immediately went back inside to get my camera.
Carolina Chickadee
Chickadees are known for being very bold little birds and these two were no exception. I stood in place, raised my camera, and within a few minutes they came to the feeder, giving me an opportunity to photograph them. Of course, anyone who has seen chickadees eat, know this was no easy task. They are so fast! When using my camera flash there is a slight delay, which isn't a good thing when trying to photograph them. I had to erase quite a few pictures of my bird feeder without the bird.
Carolina Chickade

Female Downy Woodpecker
The woodpecker and goldfinch were also brave and continued to eat even though I was nearby.

Female Downy Woodpecker
I hope once the sparrows and starlings find another home that I'll get to see more of these little guys. I removed the feeder that the sparrows liked best; they tended to scatter and waste a lot of seed from that particular feeder. Now I only have the tube feeders and I've already noticed a difference.
Female Downy Woodpecker
I also noticed while I was out that I obviously had a larger creature visiting my yard, because I saw two large piles of pellets. I can't imagine a rabbit leaving that much poop, unless there were two very large rabbits . What other creature leaves large piles of pellet droppings like that? (Aren't you glad there isn't a picture? ) I'm a little concerned since I have a curious dog with strange taste buds. I actually did some internet searching on this to try and find some pictures of "scat" to identify what animal left it. I actually did find pictures, but I'm still stumped. Isn't it amazing what you can find on the internet?


Katie said...

Dude, we have the same camera, but your pictures are amazing. Guess I'll never know!

Perhaps it's an owl?

Jayne said...

Love your Chickadee-dee-dee! Course, I live on Chickadee Drive, so you know they are my favorites. :c)

Carol said...

Great pictures, you've great patience (and talent!) to be able to get those kinds of pictures.

As for the "droppings", it is probably a rabbit or two. I've got them in my yard, too.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

ginger said...

We had rabbits that lived under our deck last Christmas. There was that snow that lasted forever, and when it melted, I found that the rabbits had buried through the snow to the front yard and eaten some of the bushes. There were LOTS of rabbit droppings there, and so I hope (!) the bed is more fertilized! :-)

Your feeders inspired my mother to get me a couple for my birthday, We hung them up yesterday, but I just haven't seen any birds around at all... I don't have all the grasses and berries that they love, so it may take a while for the birds to know the feeders are there.

The kids are very excited at the prospect of watching the birds once they do arrive.

Melinda said...

I miss chickadees - we don't have them down here in California. Lovely photos, Robin. I'm going to have to say that I'm with Carol - it's probably a big rabbit? It's amazing what they can put out. Don't know what else has the pellets...

Ginger, I've lived in several places, and it generally has taken 1-3 months for birds to find my feeders. Robin, do you know a way to get them to find it faster? All I know is that if you make sure you keep clean food in the feeder, eventually they'll come!!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Maybe you should have posted a pic of the scat. :^D If it was brown, then I agree with Carol & Ginger that it's rabbits. Raccoon scat is more purple. (Don't ask how I know!) I finally got the suet feeder put up. No birds yet, but 1interested squirrel couldn't figure out how to get at it. I guess that's a good sign. Now to just wait for the birds. I used to have a lot of Chicadees here in the Winter, but there haven't been hardly any the past few years. I just love them.

Naturegirl said...

May the spirit of Christmas leave its rich blessings in the hearts of you and yours! hugs NG
Love viewing all these blessing from Mother Nature!

mon@rch said...

I have only seen Carolina Chickadees once and was great hearing them! I need to get south again and find them again! Bravo!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Hi Katie. Originally my Alpha 100 didn't take pictures like this either, in fact I thought I had made a mistake purchasing it. The difference was/is the 75-300mm lens. I also ALWAYS shoot in auto mode, the camera is far smarter than I am. Keep practicing!

I love chickadees too, Jayne! They are such cute and friendly birds.

Carol, the only thing I could think of was a rabbit, but I had a pet rabbit once and I never saw piles like that, (thank goodness). Maybe those in the wild are more productive.

Fertilizer, now that is a positive spin on it, Ginger! I hope you and your children enjoy the feeders.

Melinda, I think it depends on where a person lives. I believe sparrows will find food pretty quickly as long as there is shelter. From what I have observed and also read, adequate shelter is the key to attracting birds. They must feel that they are safe from predators. In established neighborhoods where there is more of a bird population, they may come more quickly. For me, being in a new neighborhood, it took a while to get plants established and attract the birds. It is definitely worth the effort to attract them. They are so much fun to watch.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, hopefully it won't be long until the birds come to your suet feeder.

Thank you, NG.

The chickadees certainly have a distinct sound, don't they, Mon@rch? I recognized it immediately even though it had been several years since I had heard it.

Ginni Dee said...

Wow your photos are amazing. You have some great captures of some of my favorite birds!

You do a great job, what camera do you use?

I have a couple of Canons. One Digital Rebel XT and a little one I can carry in my purse. I'm going to bookmark your blog to visit more often...I love seeing others' photos!!


shirl said...

Hi there, Robin :-)

Just popping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Gardening and Photography in 2008 :-D

BTW love the shots of the Chickadee :-D

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Love those chickadees. They are such seemingly happy birds. Always active.

Isn't it intersting that nature is always leaving us little puzzles in our gardens?

Merry christmas.

Mary said...

Robin, I watched Carolina Chickadees for months before I was able to get photos of them. Now, they don't mind me very much and allow me to catch a photo now and then :o) They are my favorite little birds.

The pellets are probably from rabbits. I see piles of them in my yard, too. When my oldest dog was younger, she ate them and is still living!

Kylee said...

Robin, you take the most amazing pictures. I always know that I'll never be disappointed when I come here.

vonlafin said...

Great pictures, again! Rabbits, doing what they do best...eating our plants, and then fertilizing them!

Nan Ondra said...

I can only echo the many other comments on this post, Robin: Your bird photos are absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing the tip about the lens. I'm thinking I need to put up some feeders a lot closer to my windows, too. And one more thing: Merry Christmas!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

I read a lot of books and many of them are novels by American writers. Sometimes a chickadee was mentioned but I never knew what that bird looked like but now I know. They look awful cute and very much like our blue tits. Great pics once again Robin!
Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

GREAT bird photos, those little chick a dees are difficult to catch.

Janice said...

I love your bird photos! It's such a thrill to feed and watch wild birds. Chickadees are among my favorite birds, they are such cheeky little characters, full of spunk and personality! Happy New Year!

Molly said...

Large pile of pellets like that it was probably a deer. Or a goat, but I suppose your HOA frowns on pet goats, huh? :)

Phillip said...

Incredible photos!

Anonymous said...

I have just become interested in birds really and it is all because of the Carolina Chickadee. This is the second season they have made nest in the little bird house the my daughter put together and painted when she was 6 (in Jacksonville, FL). I never thought birds would choose it because it is hanging from the eaves of the house not more than three feet from the back door. Apparently we do not bother them too much. They fly back and forth between that and all the crape myrtles we have. I have just recently put out some wild bird seed nearby. I hope it does not draw in other species that may scare them out of their nest. Thanks for the great pictures. They are fast little guys and I have not been able to capture anything other than through the window or screen door!