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Archive for January 8th, 2012

Black-capped Chickadee

A Black-capped Chickadee recently photographed from inside my photo blind that is set up in the backyard for winter songbird photography. Below you will see an assortment of photo blind images. Please note while looking at the images of my photo blind that I do lack many architectural and interior design skills, but it seems to do the trick. On the inside of the blind you will notice a pail full of potential perches that I collect regularly. Since it is winter, I cannot use leafy or flowery perches, so I look for fallen branches that may have lots of lichen on them, mullein seed pods, sumac seed heads, or small sections of pine branches for some additional interest. The second pail contains some seeds for the feeder. You will also notice the small space heater on the floor of the blind that I use to stay warm and toasty while inside, and the walls have been insulated with 2 inches of styrofoam that was glued to the inside of the blind with sprayfoam insulation. This spray foam insulation was also used to fill in all the seams in the styrofoam. The framework for this blind was built using 2 X 2’s screwed into pre-made, galvanized corner pieces that I purchased from Home Depot. You will also see that the blind is sitting on a plastic skid to keep my feet about 6 inches above the frozen ground, and the old wooden chair has some foam duct taped to it for added comfort and warmth as well. The roof is covered with a piece of vapor barrier plastic to protect it from the elements. As I said, “it ain’t much to look at, but…”

Inside view of blind

Inside view of blind

The photos below show the outside of the blind and the feeder set-up. An old sweatshirt works perfect for the camera lens and a small hole above and off center holds a small Nikon SB400 flash for the days when I want to add a touch of fill flash. The long slit in the blind wall above the lens is for me to watch the action at the feeders. In the feeder image I have several perches, an old stump with suet cakes on the backside, and do note the burlap that I have fastened to the inside branches of the cedar tree background. This burlap is absolutely necessary to eliminate unwanted light from the field behind my home, to ensure a clean background to the resulting bird images. I have also included a photo that illustrates the surrounding are where I have set-up this blind. There is lots of cover nearby, which will help the success rate of the resulting images. The more cover that is present will often result in more activity at the feeding station. This cover is also helpful to the songbirds when they need to hide from our resident Sharp-shinned Hawks. Without this surrounding cover they are easy prey for such skilled birds of prey. I do make it a habit to only fill the feeder once or twice a week so that the birds are forced to forage for additional foods, however, when their is no snow present the birds are seldom seen at the feeder, as they are out foraging for other food sources.

These blind images were photographed yesterday. Note how little snow is on the ground. Normally, by this time we have a least two feet of snow on the ground.

Front view of blind

Feeder set-up with burlap draped inside the cedar trees

The backyard set-up

And the reason I am always on the lookout for new perches, is because some of them fall victim to my dog Koko. Koko is a five year old, female, black lab mix and she regularly mulches the branches that fall off the silver maple and ash trees on my property.

Koko mulching an old perch

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