Photo Essay: Common Redpolls

Over Christmas, I had a chance to get better photos of the Common Redpolls at our big feeder. All the photo are taken with my Nikon D610 with the 200-500mm lens. The 36” feeder is so big that it barely fits in the camera frame, even at 200mm.

The feeder is filled with a mix of nyjer and sunflower chips which the birds empty in about two days. There are at least 40 redpolls visiting my feeders daily and it’s very entertaining watching them vie for position on the perches.

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Feathers on Friday

If you would like to join me for my Feathers on Friday meme, please put the link to your blog post in the comments and I’ll add the link to my post.

After two years of seeing only a handful of Common Redpolls, that never stopped at my feeders, they have returned! For the past week, about 30 Common Redpolls have descended on my feeding station devouring the sunflower and nyjer seed.

I took this photo through our kitchen window with my Nikon D610 and 200-500mm lens,DSC_1036

More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Bird Boy

Birds in Your Backyard

The Cats and the Birds

Wolf Song Blog

Kathie’s Birds

JG Birds+

4forfeathers

Backyard Bird Blog

The Morning Side of Life

Vermilion Bird Book Signing

Celebrated Alberta biologist and author Myrna Pearman will be in Vermilion on Saturday, December 12th for two book signings for her latest edition of Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide.

BBF front coverThe first signing will be at Main Street Hardware, in the Vermilion Mall, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Main Street Hardware/Peavey Mart is one of the book’s sponsors, and I’ve found it to be one of the best sources in town for bird seed and bird feeders.

The second signing will be at the Vermilion Public Library, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Myrna is a nature photographer and writer, and has been the biologist and site services manager at the Ellis Bird Farm near Lacombe, Alberta, since 1986. All proceeds from the sale of the guide go to support programs at the Ellis Bird Farm.

The book has been completely updated and revised since the first edition was published in 1991. The new guide covers feeding birds in all seasons, how to deal with unwanted visitors at your station, bird feeding myths, and much more. It includes lots of colour photographs (including one I took, of a Northern Shrike!).

The signings are a wonderful opportunity to meet Myrna and ask any bird feeding questions you might have. And the book makes a great Christmas present for nature lovers of all ages, and is helpful for getting young children and seniors more involved in the outdoors.

Please come join Myrna for the signing and don’t forget you bird/bird feeding questions!

M at Peavey NOV 15 first signing SITE

Myrna at the first book signing on November 15th. Photo by the Ellis Bird Farm

“Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide” Giveaway Reminder!

BBF front coverThere are two days days left to enter my giveaway for a copy of the brand new Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide

To enter the giveaway, please comment on this post down below (or on my previous one) with the name of your favourite feeder bird or feeder species.

For a second entry, head over to my Facebook page Prairie Birder as well as the Ellis Bird Farm’s Facebook page and “Like” them both. For a third entry, use the hashtag  on Twitter. For a fourth entry, share my original post on Facebook (linked here) to your Facebook page/wall.

Please mention below in your comment that you have “Liked”, shared, or tweeted (if you’ve already liked our pages, that still counts).

The deadline to enter is this Saturday, December 5th. After a random draw, I’ll announce the winner on Sunday, December 6th.

By the way, for those in the Vermilion area, you’ll have the chance to meet the author, Myrna Pearman, and get your autographed copy of the book on Saturday, December 12th, in Vermilion. details to come soon!

Good luck to everyone!

Giveaway Contest for “Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide”

BBF front coverI’m thrilled to announce a giveaway for the new book Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide by Myrna Pearman. Myrna is a nature photographer and writer, and has been the biologist and site services manager at the Ellis Bird Farm near Lacombe, Alberta, since 1986. All the proceeds from the sale of the guide go to support programs at the Ellis Bird Farm.

The book has been completely updated and revised since the first edition was published in 1991. The new guide covers feeding birds in all seasons, how to deal with unwanted visitors at your station, bird feeding myths, and much more.

I’m honoured to have a photograph in the guide — my Northern Shrike picture on page 57; anyone with a photo in the guide received a complimentary copy. When I was emailing back and forth with Myrna earlier this fall, I asked about the possibility of a copy to give away on my blog, and Mynra very generously sent along a second one, also autographed.

To enter the giveaway, please comment on this post below with your favourite feeder bird or feeder species.

For a second entry, head over to my Facebook page Prairie Birder as well as the Ellis Bird Farm’s Facebook page and “Like” them both. For a third entry, use the hashtag  on Twitter. For a fourth entry, share my original post on Facebook (linked here) to your Facebook page/wall.

Please mention below in your comment that you have “Liked”, shared, or tweeted (if you’ve already liked our pages, that still counts).

The deadline to enter is Saturday, December 5th. After a random draw, I’ll announce the winner on Sunday, December 6th.

Good luck to everyone!

2015-2016 Winter Finch Forecast

Every year, Ontario ornithologist Ron Pittaway analyzes the seed and berry crops of the boreal forest to predict the movements of winter finches. Certain species will move south or stay in their usual wintering grounds. This year’s Winter Finch Forecast predicts several species will stay in northern Canada for winter as the food supply is relatively good, but others might move south.

However, it’s a good idea to take the forecast with a grain of salt, as some species might move further south than predicted. Have your feeders full and ready, just in case.

General Forecast: This winter, spruce seed specialists such as White-winged Crossbills and Pine Siskins should be concentrated in eastern and western North America where cone crops are heaviest. Northwestern Quebec and Ontario have the least spruce cone abundance with only poor to good crops. Conifer crops including on ornamentals are heavier in southern Ontario and could attract finches. Common Redpolls may move into southern Ontario because birch seed crops are low to average in northern Canada. A small flight of Evening Grosbeaks is expected in the East because of increasing numbers due to expanding spruce budworm outbreaks in Quebec. Pine Grosbeaks also should move south in small numbers because the mountain-ash berry crop is below average in northern Ontario. Expect a scattering of Red Crossbills across the East this winter.

You can read the full 2015-2016 Winter Finch Forecast here.

A Common Redpoll,IMG_8205

Pine Grosbeak,IMG_9120

Call for Photos — “Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide”

Myrna Pearman, manager and biologist at the Ellis Bird Farm (EBF) in southern Alberta, is updating EBF’s now out-of-print Winter Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide. The revised book, to be called Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide, will cover the feeding of wild birds through all seasons for the province of Alberta.

Myrna is looking for photographs of the following species to include in the book:

Species:

Clark’s Nutcracker
Baltimore Oriole (male and female)
Varied Thrush
Wild Turkey
Gray Catbird
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
Gray –crowned Rosy-finch
Golden-crowned Kinglet

Preferably on/at feeding stations or birdbaths:

Black Bear
Weasel, any species
Saw-whet owl
American Crow
Ruffed Grouse
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Yellow-bellied/Red-naped Sapsucker
Flying Squirrel
Northern or Loggerhead Shrike
Red-winged Blackbird (male and female)

Other:

Bald Eagle on roadkill
Townsend’s Solitaire at a birdbath
Mobbing behaviour by feeder birds
Crows washing/dipping food in a birdbath
Any bird bathing in winter
Any bird drinking at a birdbath
Any bird eating grit/oyster shell/eggshells
Feeder bird (preferably Blue Jay) in moult
Displacement behaviour at a feeding station
Cat at or around feeder, or with bird or small mammal in mouth
Woodpeckers pecking at siding/window sills (causing damage)
Any interesting/unusual feeder bird/birdbath behaviour

If you have photos of some of the species listed, please send them to mpearman@ellisbirdfarm.ca no later than January 31, 2015. The final photo selection for the book is February 28, 2015.

Selected photos will be published in the book, and the photographer will be credited and will also receive a complimentary copy of the guide.

The guide is expected to be published in May 2015.

Here’s a photo I submitted — a Harris’s Sparrow from 2013,

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