It has been such a treat to watch the birds at the bird bath and to occasionally step outside with a camera. Opportunities for fun observations happen when you least expect it.
I can count on the pine siskins to announce their presence with high pitched whistles as they gather in the tree limbs near my feeders. Sometimes they fly away enmass when I open the door. At other times they don't seem to care and on this cold day, they were more intent on getting a drink.
When I looked at these photos I couldn't help but laugh. The birdbath had shifted in the soggy ground making the water farther away on one edge than the other. And when the artic air arrived, the ground froze so I could neither remove the ice nor straighten the bowl. The pine siskin that landed on the 'away' side had a time, not only with the distance he had to reach for the water, but the smooth surface on which he perched. You can see a curious, contemplative and even frustrated experience going on in his behavior.
Okay, lets try this another way.
I first thought that I just hadn't been observant enough in the past. Pine siskins are new to me this season. But a naturalist friend of mine in the area, Stephen Lyn Bales, observes in his blog, Nature Calling, that they have not been so common in the Tennessee Valley.
Our breeding bird atlas (Atlas of the Breeding Birds of TN) describes them as "uncommon to fairly common winter residents" and rare in the summer. Breeding information is scarce and those times that breeding has been documented, usually in the Great Smoky Mountains or at Roan Mountain, the reports followed an "intermediate or major irruptive flight" during the preceding fall or winter.
Reading about pine siskins just makes these birds all the more intriguing to me and so I will be observing and reading more as the winter progresses.
Linked to Bird Photography Weekly #21 at Birdfreak.com to promote the conservation of our world's birds.
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.