As we all know social media is a great way to share our images and sightings with the rest of the world. Recently in one of our local facebook birding groups someone posted a few images of Evening Grosbeaks at her feeder and stated that "she wished someone with more experience taking images of birds was there to see all the beautiful colors at her feeder". With February month being very slow this year in terms of photography I thought this would be a great opportunity to do a feeder setup. So I fired off a message and Joyce was more then happy to allow me on to her property to try and capture some images.
Feeder setups aren't something I do often so I'm not expert but I would like to share with you a few tips of how I go about doing them. First task is finding a suitable perch. I try and think about the types of birds I might photograph and what perch would suit them. Since my goal was the grosbeaks I decided to go with the top of a Spruce tree and tie wrap it to one of my old tripods as seen below
With a perch found it was time to place it. The idea is that the birds will use this perch while waiting for their turn at the feeder. So not only does it benefit me but it also benefits the birds as it provides them with a place to rest while they wait. Lucky for me Joyce as a line of Spruce trees(Joyce I didn't cut the top of one of your trees don't worry lol) that run down the side of her property creating the perfect back drop. I placeed the perch eye level with the feeder and only about a foot or two away. The perch was placed there the day before my session with the birds as I wanted to allow them time to get use to it.
I arrived at 7:00 am setup my tripod and waited. It didn't take long for the birds to arrive but what should have been a beautiful sunrise was blanketed by clouds. So my settings were less then desirable..ISO800, F4, 1/125s...what can you do but shoot and pray.
First to arrive was the beautiful Northern Flicker
Obviously he wasn't going to use my perch but the large tree in the middle of Joyce's lawn worked out nicely.
Then arrived a large flock of American Goldfinch and a couple Pine Siskin which seemed to love the nyjer sock hung out for them.
The American Goldfinch loved to hang out on the thinner branches of a small tree near the feeder providing some decent opportunities.
After a few mins one landed on the perch...success
Finally I could hear the arrival of the Evening Grosbeak..some 20-30 individuals. Their presence certainly helped get the blood flowing through my body again as by this time the cold weather was already getting to me. The sun was also beginning to break through the clouds which was a welcome sight as well.
The Grosbeaks slowly took their time descending from the top of the large tree..the males seem to be the first to make the move downwards but then the females get tired of their slow movements and drop down ahead of them. Once one lands on the feeder its all hands on deck..the feeder is soon flowed with action and in turn the new resting place becomes a great asset.
As stunning as the female is the male was my main target and soon enough they became comfortable enough to use the perch
All in all it turned out to be a successful outing. I came away with some great images but better yet I came away with a new birding friend Joyce. Thank you once again Joyce for allowing me to your feeders and I hope to be back again soon.