Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Little Birdy ...

As Ween sings that classic song on Pure Guava, I'll let them entitle this quick post tonight for me ...

Here's the thing: we like to pride ourselves on providing habitat for various sorts of birds, insects and critters in our garden, in the hopes of giving something back to nature as we attempt to make our little urban corner wilder, at least in terms of the flora. And we try not to neglect the fauna, in fact, we aim to give them something back as well, so that our mere city corner can regress to a small microcosm of what the state once was when the native flowers and grasses held sway ....

So, it was with immense delight that we recently discovered that a pair of Goldfinches (the Iowa state bird, by the way!) have taken to feeding in our front garden in the early evenings! Even though certain flowers such as Echinacea purpurea and Monarda don't look so attractive once they've finished blooming, we allow them to complete their cycles so that they not only reproduce, but also provide food for the birds. One year we actually allowed a thistle to bloom in the front just to provide food for the goldfinches ... well, yes the goldfinches came around but we spent the following spring digging up innumerable thistles and cursing their prickly selves. Well, the thistles are gone (though they are lovely, we have to admit ... we're just not willing to have them taking over again), and the goldfinches are working the coneflowers to their hearts' content.

These are some pictures I took last week, and though they're not up to the close up quality that I prefer (Olivia has made me such a snob! Gotta love her!), they are as close as I could get at this point. So ... I've decided to go out after work when they seem to come by and just let them get used to me so I can get even closer and perhaps get some better pictures. These are of the female, who appears to be less shy than the male, since she let me get the closest to her and is actually looking straight at me in a couple of the shots. These three shots show her feeding on the echinacea seeds, as well as perching on a branch of a Castor ... I hope you can appreciate these as much as I do, given that I took about 40 shots that night and just a few actually caught her in the act.

We also have some late summer hummingbirds coming around now too ... we saw them perching on the clothesline in the back yard on Friday, and, given that the Bee Balm is producing a bit of a late summer re-bloom, they are coming around in front ... they also seem to really like the "Black and Blue Salvia" we have out there, which makes total sense, given its trumpet like blooms, though even if they are blue, do attract the hummingbirds. I'll know that I've really arrived as a garden photographer when I can get a successful picture of a hummingbird ... it hasn't happened yet, so don't go holding any breaths or tapping toes at this point. If it happens, you'll be the first to see it here, but given their skittish nature, I'm not confident that will happen just yet ... Olivia will probably be the first one to do that, and I'll be first in line to clap, scream and otherwise applaud when she pulls that one off!


olivia said...

LOL IVG ... Congrats on capturing the elusive goldfinch ... It's hard to catch birds w/out a telephoto b/c you have to physically get close. I do appreciate your captures! And I really like how you leave the flowers to seed for the birds to feed. Kewl. :)

I haven't seen any hummingbirds around the garden this year, so it's all on you and C! :P

Family Man said...

I don't know what to say. I'm flabbergasted, I'm astounded, no I'm overjoyed. IVG two posts so close together. :)

As always I see beauty and learn something too. Keep it coming.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

You two make me laugh! So thanks for the chuckle because it's been another exhausting day at work.

When the spirit moves me, I at least try to keep up with it, and it was with me briefly last night. Now I don't promise it will tonight, given my very early hours at work this week, but I'll try!

I still have lots of ideas rattling around in my feverish brain, but I just need to corral them all and get them written out. Sometimes that takes time. Just don't make me come down there and glue your feet to the floor! LOL... :-)

Family Man said...

Don't worry IVG, I won't push. Now Olivia is a different story. You know what a pushy, er, lady she is. :)

I really hope thing start to slow down some for you and you get some well deserved slack time.

Take care.

olivia said...

No, FM won't push ... he'll just follow you around aheming and toe tapping ... :P


I agree w/ him though ... I hope you get some time to rest ... do you get holidays?

FARfetched said...

So you're not the only person who gets bombed at work?

You did well to get that shot. Telephoto lenses are such a pain if you aren't using a 'pod (tri or mono, not i) because any movement on your part (or the bird's) means you have to re-frame the shot (or worse, get something properly framed but blurry).

The only recent bird shots I have are of a wren that was raising its kid in my garage earlier this year....

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