Saturday Buffet Guests

I’ve spent the weekend nursing my second case of the flu since the holidays. So much for getting a flu shot – apparently mine didn’t take. I spent most of my time sleeping, but have worried that the bird feeders were empty. I drug my butt out of bed a little after noon yesterday and got everything filled just in time for a nap. After a short snooze I noticed that there was a lot of activity at the buffet so I bundled up, grabbed my camera, and took a seat inside the mud porch. I spent about 30 minutes shooting and decided it was time for another nap.

Later that evening I downloaded the shots – I have been setting up an Instagram account so I used a grid to compile shots rather than uploading a few dozen to my feed. If you’re on Instagram and would like to check out my gallery you can find me at @theeffstop

Since I was so worn out I decided to just use the grid images today to give you a view to the kinds of visitors I am seeing at the buffet in mid-February.


20130216-224919.jpgOf course there are always plenty of titmice at the buffet, but I am seeing them become bolder and bolder. The sky shots were taken at about 4-5 feet away. These birds light even as I am filling the feeders. They have very little fear of me unless I move quickly.

White-breasted Nuthhatches

20130217-104456.jpgThese birds are becoming less afraid of me as the weather grows colder as well. They are not quite as bold as the titmice, but I have had one sit on the top of the suet log as I finish filling it for them. They make more eye contact than any other guests.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

20130217-104754.jpgI think these are my favorite birds at the feeder. They have such a sweet disposition and a yearning call, I can tell they are nearby even from inside the house at this point. They are pretty easily frightened, but they keep coming back. These shots are of the male and female pair that dined with me yesterday, they come separately, but stay close by each other. While one feeds the other paces in the walnut tree above the buffet.

Northern Cardinal

20130217-105217.jpgI tried something new for the last couple of weeks, I put out a single plate of food on the top of a 6 foot ladder. The titmice love it, but so do the male cardinals. They don’t like to perch to feed, but they are also very skittish when they feed on the ground. This guy stayed at his perch for about 20 minutes, and then returned over and over. Who knew that cardinals just wanted a private table with a view, I guess they really are snobs after all.

Downy Woodpeckers

20130216-225035.jpgThe downies are getting pretty bold as well, they will feed even if I am sitting on the swing just a few feet away. They are pretty vigilant and take a look around between bites – it’s not at all uncommon for them to stare at you and then turn back to the food having determined that you are not much of a threat.

I am noticing a few new guests at the buffet. As it gets colder up north, we have more guests who are either wintering with us, or on their way to more temperate southern climes.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

20130216-225143.jpgThese guys have been at the buffet for about the last 3 weeks and seem to be pretty tame, like their southern cousins. They are shorter and have a flatter head with more prominent striping. The first time I saw one I thought it was just an odd looking native hatch, but some checking on my birding app made it clear that he is a winter visitor from Canada. Go ahead and chow down my friend, this is an all-you-can-eat joint.

Pine Warbler

20130216-225201.jpgThis guy should not be here at all this time of year, but perhaps our mild winter has made him stop for an extended visit. I have seen a female and confess that I thought she was just another goldfinch, at this time of year I think the beak is the only giveaway between the two.

I also hosted goldfinches, chickadees, and juncos yesterday, but they were unwilling to sign photo releases. I love seeing the changing clientele, i have lived here over a decade and had no idea that all of this was in my woods all along. I’m thrilled to have them as my guests anytime they choose to pop by.

35 thoughts on “Saturday Buffet Guests

  1. Pingback: Meet My New Friend – Johnny Bravo | the eff stop

  2. Wow, these are really incredible, and with you being ill! These would make terrific watercolor compositions. I love your birds, but also the rich textures of the wood, the brilliant colors of the tile, the softness of the “cardinal” plate. Great compositions and splendid color! I do hope you kick this rotten flu soon. You truly are a master of the lense.

    • Thank you David – nature gives me a lot to work with. I started focussing on shooting birds about a year ago and it will really sharpen your reflexes. I think these guys were stocking up before the storm. I have thought about painting some, especially the ones with color. I shot a lot more of the cardinal yesterday in less harsh light, if only he would light on the tile feeder 🙂

      • Don’t know how your comment flew under my radar. I just found it, after sending a follow-up comment about last night’s comment! I really love your work. I am not a photographer, and appreciate all that artists like you bring to the table.

        • Thanks David. I decided to really focus on photography about 6 years ago, I never stopped shooting, but was always painting or drawing or making things in the shop as an outlet. I work as a graphic designer and there is nothing more liberating that making art for yourself. I like the technical challenges and the spontaneity of photography – I can shoot every day no matter what.

  3. So sorry you are down with the crud again! that just hardly seems fair, does it.
    How lucky you are to see the warbler – such a beauty too. – love love love your birds – need to buy more food this week – they have eaten us out of house and home. Hope you are feeling better today! K

    • Thanks Kathleen, I think I am getting to the downhill side of this stuff.

      I was stunned to see the warbler, he was back today – but in the rain I couldn’t get a good snap. They are eating like crazy here too – but that gets them in close 🙂

  4. I would have thought that the red breasted nuthatch was just a regular old one, if not for you. Now I’ll look more closely. But my cardinals perch on my feeders all the time. They don’t pose so nicely as yours, though.

    Feel better soon. It’s not fair to get the flu twice. There ought to be a law against that.

  5. What a wonderful collection of bird images, Lorri. I’m always amazed how colourful your local birds are and how regularly they visit your feeders.
    Sorry to hear the flu has visited you again – hope you get better soon.

  6. Hope you get to feeling better soon Lorri. I’ve been having problems with my birds lately. Ever since the Peregrine Falcon showed up a few weeks ago. Seems it has gotten another bluejay and now I haven’t seen any birds for a couple of days! I wonder if there is someone I can call to capture the falcon and move it to a more country setting? The are protected here in Canada. I miss my other birds! I was getting the red breasted nuthatch and chickadees and others and now nothing. I’m so sad 😦

  7. What a collection of diners. I’ve only seen the first woodpeckers and the cardinals down here. Maybe it’s too far for the others. Good thing they have you!
    I want to squeeze and cuddle those downy woodpeckers, they look so soft.

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