Monday, February 09, 2009

Bird Photography Weekly #24

This week, I'm sharing my nemisis bird... the Oak Titmouse.

These birds just drive me insane. I see them with the naked eye. I aim, focus and by the time they are in focus, they fly off. The only way I get anything of them is to have the camera on high burst mode and have enough light.

I see them in the yard, they have their crest up in the trees, and I lie in wait with the camera focused on the feeder just waiting for them. They know this. They know I want to get a shot with their crest up.

They dash to the feeder, lower the crest, hop inside or below the edge, grab the first seed they see and take off again. Just like Chickadees! Incidentally, they are in the same family - Paridae. Their behavior sure is similar.

But finally, success! Yesterday, there was a lot of activity. This lovely Oak Titmouse - I think our one year-round resident - was hanging out with House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches, a pair of Chestnut-backed Chickadees, a California Towhee (totally dwarfed by her), a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a sweet Bewick's Wren. Seriously, hanging out with them all. Must have been some neighborhood peace talks or something.

Now my goal is to get one on a lovely day with blue sky or a dark background behind and no branches cris-crossing the bird... and of course, the crest up. And I hope he or she comes back this weekend for the Great Backyard Bird Count and brings some friends, perhaps even a mate!

To see more great birdy photos, please check out the other submissions for


Neil said...

If you wait long enough you will get that shot.

mick said...

That's a great list of birds from your bird feeder. I'm glad you got some photos - even if not exactly what you wanted.

Red said...

Thanks Neil... patience isn't my strong suit, but I'll try :)

@Mick, yes, it was impressive yesterday. I hope that they'll all be around this weekend for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I can guarantee the House Finches and Lesser Goldfinches... probably the Towhee and Chickadee as I see them nearly every day. I just hope the others stop by as well.. and if I'm really lucky and watching close, perhaps others.

Larry Jordan said...

Hey Red, those are great captures of the Oak Titmouse! When that guy (or girl) has a mate coming by, you will have ample opportunity to get some super Titmouse shots. Especially if you have a birdhouse up for them to nest in. They mate for life so if you get a pair coming around, consider making them a home. They are loads of fun.

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

I'm sure you'll get your wish one of these days. Those are already great shots you have of him (her?) by the way.

Red said...

Thanks Larry! I forgot that a couple weeks ago you posted on the Oak Titmouse... any particular specs for a birdhouse?

Thanks Bob & Cynthia... beats me whether it's male or female... I am happy with what I have so far. The trying is the best part of photography anyway.

Mary C said...

Just one nemesis? Come on now, Red. You know all except the juncos, lesser goldfinches and house finches are nemesis birds for us. ;o) Nice post. I guess I need to get my act together and get a birdy post up for BPW.

Sparverius said...

Great pictures. I have the hardest time getting pics of chickadees, so I understand your frustration. But finally great shots. The ideal images will come along eventually, I'm sure. :)

RuthieJ said...

What a cute little titmouse Red! I'm glad your patience paid off with those great pictures. I think my brother has seen these birdies at his place so I'll be keeping my eyes open for them too.

Wren said...

We don't have these in the east. I probably would have seen it and thought "what a weird looking brown titmouse"

Well, I hope not, but you never know.

It is just as cute as our eastern ones, and I think the bird house is a great idea, because I want to see little baby titmice pictures later in the spring.

Red said...

@Mom, lol... well, in the backyard that's true. On the Oka ponds, we have tons of models.

@Sparverius... Thanks, I'm sure you're right. Of course I just want it now ;)

@Ruthie... I'll bet he has them too. Keep a sharp eye out because they are hard to spot. You'll hear them long before you see them.

@Wren... lol, well it does look a lot like the Tufteds but dustier. I'm looking into the bird house. I just have to figure out the safest placement. We have a smart hunter cat we keep chasing off the property. Monday it was on top of our "wisteria fence" that is where a lot of the birds perch before hopping onto the feeder.

behindthebins said...

Your post make me laugh. We are such demanding photographers. I get the Oak and Juniper Titmice confused ever since the split. I always have to look them up to see which one is where.

Red said...

LOL, you should hear me today... telling the birds to move around like I'm some hotshot celeb photog!

Easiest way for me to remember is their names... Oak is in the areas where there is Oak scrubland (coastal mountains and slightly inland valleys)... Juniper is where you'll find those... in the mountains.

It's a VERY rough estimate but it helps me remember Juniper to the east and Oak to the west. Although the trick is when you live where either could be. It's possible to have Junipers here, but not likely.


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