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Backyard Bird Watching-New York Times

At this time, we don’t recommend hosting a gathering of friends at home, but gathering with a swarm of feathered friends is a great shift. During the pandemic, according to Audubon Magazine, bird watching has become a popular escape for sale “from the roof” of seed suppliers, birdhouse builders, and other bird-related companies.

Expanding invitations to the bird community is simply a matter of serving food. The backyard, rich in trees and shrubs, is an ideal place to hold a gathering, but a patio or rooftop is sufficient. If you provide a lot of goods, the birds will gather like enthusiastic children. When a bird becomes a patron, you can enjoy hours of entertainment by seeing and identifying its beauty and taking pictures as needed.

set the table.

You can attract birds with a single feeder of a mixed bird species, but you need multiple feeders to draw a large and diverse population, each with the goal of attracting a particular species. To provide. Tubular bait boxes with perches that are too small for large birds are intended to attract finch and other small birds. This type of feeder can be filled with thistle seeds (finch’s favorite), or mixed seed finch food that supplements thistle seeds with sunflower chips and millet and attracts more species of birds.

Filled with a blend of wild bird food rich in nuts, fruits and sunflower seeds, the feeder with a perch large enough for large birds attracts cardinals, blue jays, gracles and other large birds. I will. A cage that hangs on a tree and contains a sweat cake mixed with peanuts and fruits is a woodpecker’s favorite, but other species will indulge as well. The red hummingbird feeding box and the orange Baltimore Oriol feeding box filled with sugar water attract these magnificent specimens. Oriole feeders usually include spikes for attaching the orange section and a cup for the grape jelly, which is quite a favorite of black and orange birds.

Please wait.

If you have a feeder installed, you need patience. Birds will discover your banquet, which may take weeks. Sparrows appear first, followed by other small birds. Soon, blue jays, cardinals, blue jays, etc. will arrive. Hummingbirds stop by in the warmer months.

When the feeder is installed, you can see birds that you have never seen before. The exact species you encounter depends on where you are. During the summer, in Michigan, a series of bait boxes captivated Baltimore Orioles, Tufted Titmouse, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Rose-breasted Owl, Uguisu, and Pine siskin. During the spring and autumn journey, birds on their way through your area may stop by for a light meal.

Once your home has become your favorite feeding ground, you can sit down and enjoy the show. Printed field guides such as The Sibley Guide to Birds and The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America can help you identify your visitors. If you want to digitize, the Audubon BirdGuide app can help.

It’s interesting to see birds competing for position in the bait box, just as they pay attention to how they come and go. Some birds, including sparrows, fly in a straight line and quickly, like miniature missiles, and fly desperately. Others, including finch, flap them intermittently and move up and down like a roller coaster. Some birds have elaborate eating habits. Nuthatches picks seeds from the feeder, wedges them in the gaps in the bark, and taps them open with their beaks. In the spring, you may see sparrows coming and going from the feeding box to nearby branches.

Please take a closer look.

Observing birds with the naked eye is fun, but most birders use binoculars. You can get a good pair for less than $ 150, or you can spend $ 3000 on the best model. Audubon publishes a guide to binoculars that offers choices at all price levels. Look for a model that offers a magnification of 8x or higher. That way, the bird will look at least eight times larger when viewed through the model than when viewed with the naked eye.

Or take a picture.

Close-up photographs of birds, such as those seen in National Geographic, are spectacular, but the equipment needed to achieve these results can be expensive. However, the more modest photo results are also satisfactory and can be achieved at low cost.

Smartphones with telephoto lenses, such as the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10 +, can record images that are close to what you see with the naked eye. Other affordable options offer more magnification. Hammacher Schlemmer offers digital camera binoculars capable of producing 8x images for about $ 200. Sharper Image offers a similar set of binoculars with 12x magnification. Both can be mounted on a tripod and produce acceptable images, but they do not produce the crisp, high-resolution photos found in natural history.

If you want to estimate professional quality results, you need a high resolution 35mm digital camera and a telephoto lens. Expect to pay at least $ 500, even if you buy second-hand equipment. But it’s cheaper than a very modest vacation and could be an entertainment investment worth enjoying much more time than a weekend trip to a ski resort.

There are two types of digital cameras sold as 35mm models. One type has a full frame sensor. The other type has a smaller sensor, is cheaper, and is usually called the APS-C model. APS-C cameras have smaller sensors, so the captured image will be proportionally larger. The 400mm lens on most APS-C cameras has about the same magnification as the 600mm lens on full-frame cameras. High-quality APS-C cameras with sensors that record image data in excess of 15 megapixels are available for $ 300 to $ 600.

Lenses are the most important part of a birdwatching rig and you can find bargains by shopping. For a telephoto zoom lens with enough focal length to achieve significant magnification (400mm or more), you would expect to pay at least $ 500 for a new lens, but it could be half that of a used lens. ..

A sturdy tripod and ball or gimbal head are also required for bird photography. Gimbal heads are good for bird watching, but they are expensive. A ball head that works smoothly is sufficient.

When shooting, use an exposure mode that allows you to set the shutter speed while the camera automatically selects the aperture. For stationary birds, using a tripod usually gives sharp results with a shutter speed of 1/500 second. To shoot a bird in flight with a handheld camera, try a shutter speed of 1/2000.

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