Natural

We feed wild birds. The goal is to supplement their diet in winter when food is scarce. Additionally, there are times (like the very deep freeze we experienced only a couple of weeks ago) that the energy it might take to secure food exceeds the calories the meal provides. At those times, offering a highly caloric peanut, for example, can be life saving.

The Chickadees are incredibly alert and always know when I’m on my way to fill the feeder. They fly over to within a few yards and wait to see what I might pour onto the platform. Here is a series of photos of a Chickadee that has taken a peanut to a nearby branch. It gingerly holds it between its feet while it chips away to make morsels it can consume. I took these photos just yesterday.

I am always happy to capture a lovely bird, expecially doing something interesting like negotiating the process of eating food we offered. However, I prefer to film them in their more natural state. That isn’t always easy. A Chickadee is a very tiny creature. I know that they love to spend their time in the exceedingly tall Ponderosa Pine Trees. I’ve seen them fly into the depths of those evergreens, but once they pass the outer edge of the boughs, there’s no way that I can spot them in the depths of the massive trees.

That all changed yesterday when, late in the afternoon, I stopped in a location very near the Ponderosas because I spotted a little bird in the thickets nearby. It turned out to be a House Sparrow. The lighting isn’t great, but the artistic element of the shot made me smile.

Then, I saw movement about twenty feet up in the pine trees. Dang. It was gone. No, there it is again! It was quick movement that was very challenging for me to follow. But, I took a chance and focused on a small bunch of dead, rust colored pine needles where I had first seen the zippy movement. Then, I snapped away. It was on a wing (hey, no pun intended) and a prayer that I might catch the bird. When I reviewed the files, there were several blanks – as in lovely photos of the pines and cones, but no birds. I had almost given up doing a one-at-a-time review when I spotted something. Look to the left of the next photo, just under the dry needles.

Yes, it’s great fun to film a Chickadee holding a peanut that we provided. However, I feel incredibly fortunate to capture that same bird eating its natural diet of pine nuts.


With Spring on the horizon, I’m able to travel about the property a bit more – like that spot where I saw the Chickadee in the Ponderosa Pines. A few places are still off limits because the ground is fully saturated and I could sink down and get stuck without warning. That almost happened yesterday when I tried to film an Eastern Meadowlark that was hunting in Jaye’s Pasture. Below are the best shots I was able to capture. I’m pretty sure those are living insects / worms that the bird has in its beak. I find that sort of miraculous since just fourteen days ago, it was below zero F here! Nature is… yeah, beyond words.

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