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Banded Birds At My Bird Feeder Camera

In case you have not heard, we’re buried under an old school blizzard dumping up here.  The local weather folk were predicting with barely restrained glee the potential for a massive storm.  And though many of us have heard in the Twin Cities that we could get 1 – 2 feet of snow, many of us eyed this impending Snowmaggedon with skepticism.  It often amounts to only a few inches.  But to to be safe, I head out to Neil’s for some last minute honey bottling finished–I need to get some together to mail to family for the holidays.  I generally use birds at the feeder as an indication if the weather predictions are true.  On Friday all feathers pointed to us getting seriously slammed on Saturday.  The goldfinches were draining the thistle feeder and even the pileated woodpecker chowed down on the suet feeder closest to the window.

While I was dealing with the honey (more on that later), I set up my WingScapes Camera out on a stump and covered it with some bird food.  Above is a male and female cardinal along with a winter plumage goldfinch.

Check out this ambitious white-breasted nuthatch!  Besides black oil sunflower seed, I crumpled up some peanut suet and the nuthatch was grabbing one of the larger chunks.  I also noted the nuthatch was banded.  Most likely the handy work of my buddies Mark and Roger who come out to band birds twice a year.  There were quite a few banded birds coming in to the cam:

Here’s a banded blue jay–I think it’s been a few years since Mark and Roger got one of these in the nets, so this bird could be a few years old.  Can’t say for sure, since I can’t read the band number, I can’t say for sure.  It could even be someone else’s banded bird.

Here’s one of several banded black-capped chickadees.  Are they all photos of the same banded bird or several banded chickadees coming in to the seed, each taking a turn?

Here’s a banded dark-eyed junco.  With the dark gray head and the brown on the back feathers, its looks like a first year junco, probably banded this fall.

And here is a banded titmouse.  It’s nice to see all of the banded birds surviving and still coming to the feeding station, despite the nets going up twice a year.

There were a few other interesting photos that the cam picked up:

I find that crows are the hardest birds to capture on a motion sensitive camera.  This crow was watching the other birds go after the suet and it really, really wanted it.  It watched the stump for about ten minutes, trying to work out what the camera was all about.  After watching dozens of smaller birds go down for the suet, it tried.  But as soon as it landed, it bounced off the stump.  I wonder if it can hear the digital camera go off?  Can it see some change in the shutter?  It never grabbed any suet and it never returned to the stump–which suited the smaller birds just fine.

This photo cracks me up.  It looks like the cardinal is totally planning to ambush the chickadee.

These are just a small fraction of the hundreds of photos my Wingscapes Cam grabbed that afternoon.  The birds didn’t lie, we got slammed with snow.  Even though the storm was Saturday, I can hear a semi truck in my neighborhood squealing it’s tires as I type this.  It’s been stuck in a bank of snow for the last 45 minutes. Minneapolis is pretty savvy when it comes to snow removal, but this one came so fast and there’s only so any places that a city can put it, we’re still a few days away from normality.

Mom, I’ll post photos of our neighborhood later

11 comments to Banded Birds At My Bird Feeder Camera

  • The plotting cardinal is by far my favorite picture.

    You get a really nice variety of birds at your feeder. After almost a year of leaving out thistle seed in various feeders, I finally attracted goldfinches to my yard. So far the most exciting visitors have been the Lazuli Buntings.

  • Enjoyed the cam views. You get much more intimate views of the bird, although not as sharp. Have to look into getting one myself.

  • Joanna

    some people listen to Paul Douglas, others feed the birds! great weather prediction photos.

  • Nicole

    Love the pictures–we actually got pictures of some (really) late-season Bluebirds huddled around our birdbath in the MN storm, looking like they really wish they had migrated a few weeks ago!

  • I love that set up, i enjoy watching the birds on my deck, although they sometimes flee when i move to get shots of them. Your cardinal shot amuses me so much too. During the storm a squirrel started digging for food at one of my broken feeders that was getting covered, and when it left a lone bird flew in there and went to town.

    Also, speaking of crows, i watched two chase a hawk around my yard, dive bombing it and they forced it into hiding in a bush. Never seen anything like it before. I assumed the hawk would win, but it didn’t even seem to get any hits in.

  • It’s curious that the crows would be so timid about the camera. I mean, we know they are highly intelligent, but i would expect them to investigate the camera thoroughly and not be so shy about it. Perhaps you are right that they are scared by the noise of the shutter or maybe there was a glare on the lens made it appear like the eye of a predator or something?

  • I know they are not my banded birds because I always band on the left leg!

  • JGo

    Besides the number of birds at my feeder in So. Mpls. on Friday, my other indication that this could be the real deal in winter storms, were the two mice (or one mouse twice) that ran across my kitchen in broad daylight while I was there! One on the kitchen table. One mouse down on Friday night in a trap and no further sightings. But I’m loving the pine siskins that are at my feeder this winter. I’ve never had them before in the city. So cute!

  • Thanks for this post which I found highly informative. The photographs are very good indeed and I wish I had half your skills to achieve that quality. I really don’t like any type of ground feeder as they do attract rats and mice, so I avoid them. The bitterly cold weather in Ireland at the moment is a real pain. That said, it doesn’t take long to get to my various feeders and break up the ice. I use a couple of different feeders, a lard bird feeder and a bird feeder pole. They both work well and attract different species. I also use sunflower seeds and peanuts and they seem to like them a lot.

    I am going to buy a solar feeder as the reviews look very good on them and they are an attractive ornament to the garden.

  • Hi Sharon, the WingScapes Camera takes some very good pictures. Do the birds fly off when the shutter clicks or is it a silent camera?

  • The camera is silent…but it seems to me that crows can either hear something or see something. None of the other feeder birds are remotely bothered by it–and I’ve tested it on bird feeders in Panama.