Readers’ wildlife photos

We have contributions from two photographers today. First up is Art Williams from Cincinnati, Ohio, whose captions are indented:

Been quarantined and laid up after a recent procedure to improve the truculence of my heart’s slow beating and have ended up spending a lot of time on the front porch watching the world go by with my camera in tow.  The Eastern chipmunk [Tamias striatus] is becoming a fast friend; he runs pell mell across the porch and into the shrubs looking for food and bedding which (s)he stuffs inelegantly into his/her cheek pouches and races back to his burrow in his Sisyphean suburban adventures to provide for his or her brood. His mulchy grin made me laugh aloud when I enlarged the picture, like some gruesome, grinning Godfather, but with bark rather than Brando’s orange rinds.

The birds are house finches [Haemorhous mexicanus] ; the caratinoid-ed male, though camera shy, and bold female, make a lovely pair.

The hare feels safe to nosh at dusk, but keeps one eye out for the red-shouldered hawk that will perch in the tall snag in the copse of trees overlooking his patch of green comestibles.

The magnolia [Magnolia grandiflora] is showing its buttery white blooms and seemed photogenic after a late vernal downpour, almost begging to forgo its anonymity. You can almost smell the lemony fragrance of the flower mixed with the petrichor hanging thick in the air.

The day ends gloriously with the dust stirred by the recent storms transforming the western skies into bolts of crimson, hues that might shame the finest Lucchesian silk.

And two from Doug Hayes:

While watching the Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) foraging in the plant bed, I discovered that there are three babies! Doing a bit of research I found that young cardinals, male and female, have coloration similar to that of the female cardinal and males develop the red color as they grow. The new baby is a bit smaller than the other two. It may have hatched later; is the “runt” of the batch or just got less food than the first two. The new one may also be a male, as it seems to be sprouting patches of red on the chest and head. All three of them were in the plant bed with mom.
I put up the bird feeders Saturday evening and the first customers were a pair of House finches (Haemorhous mexicanus). Like cardinals, house finches are sexually dimorphic, with the male being more colorful than the female. The male finch eats anything he can pull from the feeder, while the female tosses aside everything except the sunflower seeds. House finches were originally native to Mexico and the western United States. In the 1940s, these birds were being sold illegally in New York City as, “Hollywood Finches”. To avoid prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 which forbids the trade in any migratory bird, living or dead, owners and dealers released the birds. House finches are now widespread across the eastern United States.
These photos were taken in my backyard in Richmond, Virginia. Camera info:  Sony A7RIV with Sony FE 200-600 zoom lens + 1.4x teleconverter, mounted on an Ifootage Cobra 2 monopod and gimbal.

9 Comments

  1. rickflick
    Posted June 12, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    My goodness the monk is jowly!
    House finches are popular visitors here too. The like sunflower seeds a lot. Either shelled or unshelled.

  2. Posted June 12, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I love watching chipmunks but they are so quick and furtive that it is hard to catch a picture. Good snaps!

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 12, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Some excellent photos today. All of them.

  4. Posted June 12, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Excellent pictures! Perhaps the chipmunk is collecting material for a nest. Perhaps a natural fumigant?
    I did not know that about house finches. ‘Ya learn something new every day.

  5. ethologist
    Posted June 12, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Re-upping this post from a while back on the cheek pouches of hamsters: https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/04/03/how-hamsters-stuff-their-cheeks-and-lagniappe/

  6. Posted June 12, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Cottontail rabbit, not hare. Love the pix, especially of the chipmunk. 🙂

    GCM

  7. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 12, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I love that “gruesome grinning Godfather”!

  8. Mark R.
    Posted June 12, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Very fun photos. That chipmunk is great. LOL indeed.

    Thanks for the interesting info on the house finch trading…didn’t know about that law.

  9. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Nice chipmunk photos!


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