Wild Birds Always Shine

I’m obsessed with my backyard birds. There, I’ve said it.

Two weeks ago, I stopped by Wild Birds Unlimited and replaced my hanging birdbath with a model that clamps onto my deck. It’s been unusually brisk here in central North Carolina, so keeping the water from freezing has been a challenge but a welcome chore. According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, clean feathers provide the best insulation for birds in cold weather.


A yellow-rumped warbler at my new bird bath. (2/15/15; Durham, NC; Nikon D5000)

Last week, my older sister gave me with a Squirrel Buster Mini bird feeder. (My past birds-at-the-feeder photos were voyeuristic snapshots out my backdoor of the neighbor’s feeder. I don’t think there’s a law against that, but now I have my own!)

Since making these improvements, the birds have gone wild. I’m replenishing the water and refilling the feeder daily. Although studies have shown that birds only get about 25% of their food from feeders, many experts advise that once you start feeding the birds in the wintertime, you ought to continue feeding them regularly until spring—thus a crack-of-dawn (COD) trip to my local Lowes Home Improvement store this morning.

My amateur bird watching has enabled me to get a little better at operating my Nikon D5000 camera. (Most of my previous photos were taken with a more portable Canon SX280 HS, which has a slick 20X zoom.)

Although bird watching is not for everyone—some prefer seeing a bird on their dinner plate—it’s been great fun for me. Plus, I’m learning a thing or two about the characteristics and behaviors of the various species.


Although eastern bluebirds eat mostly insects and wild berries, this female enjoys a tiny morsel from my feeder. (2/15/15; Durham, NC; Nikon D5000)


The ice storm Monday night brought lots of colorful birds to my backyard on Tuesday. I was delighted to catch an eastern bluebird in route to my neighbor’s feeder. (2/17/15; Durham, NC; Nikon D5000)


In fact, the eastern bluebirds were abundant—as were the northern cardinals. …Notice the bluebird flying away at about two o’clock in this photo. (2/17/15; Durham, NC; Nikon D5000)


I’ve seen a lot of pine siskins this year. They migrate based on crop conditions (a behavior referred to as irruption), so it’s possible not to see them every year. (2/17/15; Durham, NC; Canon SX280 HS)


Pine siskins, which are a type of finch, are quite aggressive at the feeder. Here, two of them take on a yellow-rumped warbler. (2/17/15; Durham, NC; Nikon D5000)


Birds use their tail feathers to communicate. I think this northern cardinal is saying, “It’s cold outside!” (2/17/15; Durham, NC; Nikon D5000)

Birds are very commonplace creatures. As such, they serve as frequent reminders of the variety and abundance of beauty in creation.

2 thoughts on “Wild Birds Always Shine

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