Wednesday, March 30, 2011

#44 Field Tip: Keep Your Distance

Can you find the Long-eared Owl in the picture above? This photo was intentionally taken from a distance of about 60 yards away.  It is especially important to keep a good distance away from owls and raptors this time of year, as they are focused on nesting and raising young.

Stay well away to avoid frightening or flushing them, which could have devastating effects on egg incubation or chick raising. Use a spotting scope or binoculars to view them from a safe distance.

If you wish to photograph wildlife, consider digiscoping - using a point-and-shoot camera with a scope. Or invest in a long camera lens (400mm).

Using a scope or long camera lens allows you to "bring" the subject closer and keep a safe distance away without disturbing the bird.
all photos © adrian binns

Friday, March 25, 2011

#43 Keeping an Eye On....... American Robins

American Robins are back in our area in full force. In many places, they never really left. They are combing the lawns, head cocked, looking and listening for worms. They are vocalizing loudly, announcing the Spring season, and thinking about breeding.

Do you see the bold, conspicuous, white arcs around the eye? Have you noticed that the upper and lower arcs do not join up, and that the upper arc is broken?

When I see one flying away from me, and I cannot see the brick-red breast, I can still tell that it is an American Robin by the shape and the white at the corners of the black tail.

Look for these field marks the next time you see robins, and you will learn to ID this bird in flight.
photo © adrian binns

Friday, March 18, 2011

#42 Field Tip: Birding by Bike

Consider doing something different, that is not only healthy for you but also good for the environment.

Leave the car at home, and bike to bird!
photo © adrian binns

Friday, March 11, 2011

#41 Backyard Tip: Clean out Nest Boxes

As the winter months draw to a close, and the weather warms up, birds begin to search for places to nest. Some, such as Bluebirds, do so early in the season, as they will raise multiple broods. If you host bird houses in your yard, late winter is the best time to clean them for the upcoming nesting season.

Scoop out all old nesting material to ensure all parasites and mold are removed. Scrape off any beehives that might be attached to the house. Parasites and bees can kill baby birds.

Clean your birdhouses BEFORE the birds begin looking for a nesting site. Otherwise, your activities may disturb and discourage them from using that birdhouse.
photo © adrian binns

Friday, March 4, 2011

#40 Field Tip: Storing your Scope

Detach the scope from the tripod when transporting in vehicles and storing at home.

This ensures that the adjustment knobs on the tripod are not unduly stressed by shifting or jarring.
photo © adrian binns