Thursday, May 28, 2009

Backyard Birds and Chimney Swifts

All of this non-birding is really starting to get to me. Between work and personal stuff there is no time to bird and even if there were, the weather is far too raw for me to want to venture outside for long. The one good thing about it is that it allows me to enjoy some of the backyard birds some. One interesting note is that the Ruby-throated Hummingbird has discovered my feeder and makes a few stops each day for a sugar fix. Of course I still have my regulars including the Tufted Titmouse pictured above.
This is him this morning. I took about 30 shots of this bird trying to get a better look at its eye. I am not sure if its sick or if it looks that way because of the rain we had but boy does this bird look like it had a rough night (notice a trend here???).

Here is a front view. The left eye doesn't look as bad in this shot. Will be keeping my eyes open. My feeders were just cleaned last week but it makes me a little uneasy.

Whatever was bothering it, it sure did have an appetite though. You will notice the branches I have around my feeder. I put them there for places for the birds to perch and it also makes for more natural looking photos then those taken on a feeder.

I had to go pick up my car at the shop after work today and decided to go through the factory in an effort to prove if my theory was correct regarding the local Chimney Swifts in town and where they go to roost each night. I have never bothered to count how many we have because it would be too overwhelming of a task, but lets just say, we have at least 60 based on my rough estimates. Each early evening they appear out of nowhere chattering about and catching insects on there wings. I had noticed in the past that they always seemed to appear near a local factory so I was guessing they were roosting nearby.
Here is the best shot I could get of a Chimney Swift. Lets just say they are active little birds and hardly ever stay still except for nesting and roosting!!

They are very acrobatic as evidenced in the photo above.

I observed the swifts for about 15 minutes. I wanted to see if any of them would enter the chimney. None of them did, but many spent most of their time around the vicinity which leads me to believe that perhaps my theory is correct. My next move will be to get to that location 15 minutes earlier than I did today to see if I can see them all flying out the of the chimney.
For all of you serious bird nerds, here is a video I took. It is approx 1 minute and twenty seconds and shows the swifts fluttering around the chimney. Fascinating stuff I tell ya and beats stamp collecting as a hobby for sure!


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Anonymous said...

Those titmice are funny little birds. They always seem very curious, and the ones around here are pretty talkative. Hope you get more birding time soon.

Carol said...

I like photographing the backyard birds...they are like old friends.

Ratty said...

Those birds flying around the chimney were fun to watch. I love watching birds fly. A still picture of a bird in flight is always one of my goals.

Kallen305 said...

Why hello there Gtjw, One word for ya, Decaf! ;o)

C&B, I love the Tufted Titmouse. Of course they drove me nuts this past winter because it seems as if all I ever saw were them and the chickadess whenever I went birding but I appreciate them now though now that I don't see them as often.

Carol, I too love taking pics of my backyard birds. I don't do it nearly as often as I used to and really need to get my act together to get some shots of the hummer. Perhaps this weekend!

Ratty, I would practice on some large sized common birds like pigeons, starlings, etc. Turkey Vultures are real easy to get flight photos of too as they are very large and smooth gliders which basically means they don't fly fast. Zoom up to the bird and get your lens on it. Get it focussed and click! Once you get the hang of it it's somewhat easy depending on the bird of course. Can't wait to see your first shot!

Shellmo said...

HOpe that tufted titmouse doesn't have that house finch eye disease! Glad you posted that video of those flying swifts - they move like a busy swarm of bees!

Alan said...

Hey Kim,

Enjoyed watching the chimney swift video. There neat birds. If I had a chimney on my house I would definitely keep it open for them.

dAwN said...

Very cool swift video Kim,
That would be a life bird for me..

Ginnymo said...

The video was neat Kim. I've never seen that bird before. Wonder if they really live in the chimney?
The little Titmouse looks a bit ragged. Maybe it's a mother and her kids finally flew the coup! Ha! I only see one around here now and he is constantly calling for a mate it seems.

Andy said...

The Tufted Titmouse appears to have contracted conjunctivitis (House Finch eye disease)

Deborah Godin said...

I got real excited yesterday, thought I had a Tufted Titmouse at the feeder (would be a first) , but it turned out to be that crazy cowbird with the big bump on her head (the light was really poor and it was raining) These are really neat photos!!

Larry said...

Chimney Swifts are neat birds.I never bothered trying to track down their roosting spot but they do appear over my backyard in the evenings.-


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