Black Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada
November 6, 2011

I hadn’t been to The Sanctuary for some time and, with it being such a lovely day (sunny and 18c – 64 American – thanks, Gene!), I decided to go for a little wander. It seemed like most of Eastern Ontario had the same idea. Scads of noisy folks, kids and dogs, running around and no wildlife within a 20 mile radius with the exception of a whack of geese and gulls in the river, plus the ever scrounging Chickadees. Still, it was nice to see one and all enjoying nature. Right….

I was slowly walking down one of the trails and there was no one around. I finally spotted a male Red Cardinal (a bird on my “must get” list) and quietly crept up on it, tripod and cam all set to go. Just as I was ready to take a shot, a young couple came bouncing around the corner, clutching a bag of bread for the birdies, and it buggered off to parts unknown. They gave me a cheery “hello” and told me that there was a Cardinal nearby and had I seen it?

Indeed I had I replied, folded up the tripod and went on my way.

I came across a Nuthatch a little further along the trail and it was being very busy as is the Nuthatch’s wont. A little far away and I didn’t think I’d have time to change to the Bigma.

And then I arrived at the main Chickadee haunt. Also the main people haunt, too, apparently. Still, it was fun to see the wee ones laughing and excited as they fed the little birds. I gave up and decided to call it a day.

As I headed back to the car, I noticed a bunch of picnic tables right beside the trees that edge the parking lot and many Chickadees were flying from the trees to the tables. I approached and saw that there were some leftover seeds on the table and this was what was attracting them. A brainwave! I had a baggie of goodies in my pocket, so I placed some on the edge of one of the tables, stepped back about 3 feet, prefocused on them with the lens at 300 mm and waited. About 40 shots later, many on continuous shooting mode, I wrapped things up and headed home.

The above is one of the three shots that turned out.

I’m sticking with Cooper Marsh. The birdies are much more cooperative.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 28 to 300 at 300 mm
iso 400, multi-pattern metering, F6.3, 1/160 second

In love with Ma Nature! Always have been, always will be. Let’s keep her safe, eh?

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  • Manon Boily
    Manon Boilyabout 3 years ago

    that’s so cute! I love chickadees! so well done Mike!

  • Many, many thanks, Manon! They are such a cute little bird and it was so nice to see the little kids interacting with them.

    – Mike Oxley

  • JanT
    JanTabout 3 years ago

    Love the light and focus in the first shot posted, Mike. And the one landed on your hand? I’ve had one land on my lens, but not on my hand. What a great shot! Or shots. Are you a southpaw? With long arms or a short lens?

  • Thanks so very much for your kind words and the “fave”, too, Jan. Greatly appreciated! The one that landed on my hand was taken back in early February at Cooper Marsh. The wee divvils are all over you down there, much like they are at Upper Canada. I was using a tripod and a wired release that’s on the left side of the camera. I just held my hand out in front, prefocused and waited for the Chickadees to show up. The lens was a Sigma 17 to 70 at 24 mm, aperture 11.0 for a longer DOF.

    – Mike Oxley

  • KatMagic Photography
    KatMagic Photo...about 3 years ago
    Ha ha… that’s a funny story….have you seen the Cardinal??? Did they really think they could entice a Cardinal anywhere to do anything .. with bread? .. (a male Cardinal is on my must-get list also)…. great shots of your little Chickadee.. they are so delightful, aren’t they?… but difficult to expose properly for with those black heads and little white blotches…Jan is correct, your lighting is really good and that first one really shows off the eye well too….glad you returned home with some keepers and not just frustration….
  • Many thanks, Kat, and thanks, too, for the"fave"! At least I was polite, but I always cringe when I see folks feeding bread to the birds. One of the worst possible diets for them to have. The lighting was thanks to a late afternoon sun shining through the trees with a little help from the multi pattern metering. Plus I boosted the exposure by 0.4 ev in the RAW converter.

    – Mike Oxley

  • PhotosByHealy
    PhotosByHealyabout 3 years ago

    LOL! Lousy picture taking day, but a great story. And nice capture too.

    (P.S. 18 C = 64 F American. Yeah, I know, depends on the daily exchange rate, right? <Grin>)

  • Thanks, Gene! It was a great day weather-wise, though. Thanks for the conversion – my calculator only adds and subtracts and I really should drop 10 bucks on a new one that works.

    – Mike Oxley

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppabout 3 years ago

    Very nice capture Mike, nicely documented as well

  • Thanks so very much, Larry. It was such a beautiful day, I didn’t really begrudge all the folks out enjoying it!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Dorothy Thomson
    Dorothy Thomsonabout 3 years ago

    Nice one Mike and I can empathise with your tale :-)

  • Greatly appreciated, Dorothy, and many thanks, my friend. It was a little frustrating, particularly when I’m used to being on my own at Cooper Marsh. Although I have had some interruptions down there, too!

    – Mike Oxley

  • NancyR
    NancyRabout 3 years ago

    Great little shot of the chickadee, Mike! Sorry about the cardinal.

  • Many thanks, Nancy, and I’m sure I’ll “get” my Cardinal yet! I’ve been trying for years, so this little setback doesn’t really bother me! :o)

    – Mike Oxley

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeabout 3 years ago

  • Appreciated, Ray!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Jessica Dzupina
    Jessica Dzupinaabout 3 years ago

  • Thanks, Jessica!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Photography  by Mathilde
    Photography b...about 3 years ago

    All beautifully shot and gorgeous images, Mike – have oftened what a chickadee was and here are three for me to go “ahhh” and “awww” over – patience is a virtue…..or so I have been told !!

  • Thanks so very much, my friend, and I greatly appreciate the “fave”, too! They are a cute little bird and, fortunately, very common here. The added bonus is that they are very tame at the various sanctuaries in the area and the wee mites expect to be fed so they literally land on you, looking for handouts!

    – Mike Oxley

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