Readers’ wildlife photos

December 31, 2022 • 8:15 am

We have a new edition of The Breakfast Crew by Doug Hayes of Richmond, Virginia. Doug’s IDs and comments are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Things have been slow around the feeders for the past few months, but with the coming of cold weather, the gang is back.

European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) used to be quite common in the neighborhood, but I haven’t seen very many since last winter. Last month, huge flocks of them flew around the wooded areas and the park, stopping to feed a bit, then flying on. They did this for a few weeks, then vanished again:

An immature or non-breeding male red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). These guys show up in huge flocks whenever we have rainy weather. Otherwise they stick to the river and marshy areas around the city:
Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) are always around the yard, adding a splash of color to the drab winter landscape.
Mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) like to just hang out after they eat. You can see them lazing around the yard all day:
Dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) have moved into the neighborhood, expanding their regular territory of the park and wooded areas along the James River. Juncos are native to Canada and migrate into the US in the winter. A friend of mine calls them “snow birds”:
A female house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). Second only to the sparrows in numbers around the feeders:
This Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) alternates between the suet feeders and the seed feeders and is almost always in the yard throughout the day:
A male red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus):
A tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor). These birds only linger a few seconds at the feeders and are rather hard to photograph. This one stuck around a bit longer than usual:
Several female American goldfinches (Spinus tristis) showed up last month. I haven’t seen any males since the summer:
A male house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) playing peek-a-boo:
A house sparrow (Passer domesticus) waiting its turn at the feeders:
A male brown-headed cowbird and a more drab female (Molothrus ater). Another male is on the other side of the feeder:
A Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis). Another fast feeder. You need quick reflexes to photograph them as they grab a seed and fly off without lingering:
A white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) scavenging seeds scattered around the yard by the other birds:
Camera info:  All photos shot with the Sony A1 with the exception of the cardinal photo which was taken with the latest addition to my arsenal: the Sony A7RV (it features a 61-megapixel image sensor), Sony 200-600 FE zoom lens, Sony 1.4X teleconverter, auto ISO (range from 400 to 5000 ISO depending on lighting conditions), daylight white balance, all shots hand held.

11 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Taking a moment to comment – as I cannot every edition, but I see ’em – delightful! Photo composition is strong in this set – simple elements for the eye to explore.

    1. Most of the photos are shot from the bathroom window or one of the bedroom windows. Screen and windows open. The feeders are about 30 feet away. If opening the windows and screen scares off the birds, I close the curtains and wait a few minutes for them to return. On cold days, I make sure to close the doors to keep from cooling the rest of the house and wear my coat or sweater while bird watching.

  2. Your photos are my favorite for seeing up close the birds that visit our feeders. Likewise, we’re not seeing nearly the number of starlings that we used to see. And just how do those lard-ass mourning doves get so big doing next to nothing all day long?

  3. Nice variety of birds. The peek-a-boo was great- beautiful detail. Many of the birds are common over here in Washington. We must be at a similar latitude. I remember you said where you live, but I can’t remember. My two guesses are PA or NC…

    1. Richmond, Virginia. The birds I see in my neighborhood are only a fraction of the birds one can see in the wooded areas of the city and along the James River.

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