Monthly Archives: May 2015

Rainy Day Wildlife Photos with the Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Squirrel Photo Taken with Sigma 150-500mm Lens

Squirrel Photo Taken with Sigma 150-500mm Lens – Click on the image to see the full-resolution original, unedited.  Camera settings: f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO-1000, 500mm

I got a new lens for birding and photography.  It’s gigantic (compared to what I’ve been using).  I have yet to carry it out into the field but I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this test photo… A squirrel in my backyard, shot at 500mm, on a cloudy day!  My camera is a Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the lens is this one:

It’s discontinued, so the price has dropped quite a bit lately.  It used to sell for over a thousand!

Here’s another test photo I took of a house finch in the rain:

House Finch

House Finch, Click to see the original full-resolution, unedited.
Camera Settings: f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO-1250, 500mm

What do Chickadees feed their young?

Black-Capped Chickadee with Caterpillar


Both Chickadee parents feed their young.  They take turns feeding and guarding the nest.

Above is a photo of one of the chickadees bringing a green caterpillar to the nest. Somewhere there must be a lot of these caterpillars, as hour after hour, these cute little birds find them.  It’s hard to believe, but a pair of chickadees have to bring thousands of caterpillars to feed their babies.  In fact, according to NestWatch, the parents need 6000-9000 caterpillars to feed just one brood!

They also feed them spiders and other insects.  In the below picture, that little dot in his beak is actually a spider!

Black-Capped Chickadee with Spider


Here’s another photo that shows a Chickadee hauling in a bunch of bugs (looks like a spider AND a caterpillar!).

Chickadee with Insects

It is my lucky year because the birds have chosen one of our bird houses to nest in!  We put up two of them over a year ago.  This is the first year that a pair decided to move in!  Baby birds that are too young to leave their nest are called “Nestlings” and this pair definitely has some hungry ones to feed!  I don’t know how many have hatched, but I heard that the average brood size is 6.  I am too afraid to look in (I don’t want to disturb them) but if I stand right next to the birdhouse, I can often hear very quiet high pitch calls coming from the nestlings!

Chickadee Sticking his Head out of the Birdhouse


This is an ongoing photo story about a family of chickadees I’ve been watching. Here are more photos of Black-Capped Chickadees.

Chickadees Bringing Food to the Nest for their Newly Hatched Babies

Black-Capped Chickadee with food for their young

Black-Capped Chickadee with food for their young

This is a follow-up post to the continuing saga of Chickadees choosing to make a nest in a birdhouse right near my window.

The babies have hatched! I know this not because I’ve looked into the birdhouse, but from observing the parent chickadee behavior. The bird house was really quiet for a couple of weeks, but now the parent or parents are busy going in and out of it!  I can see that they have food in their beaks. It looks like they are finding little garden worms or grubs. I imagine that like human babies, hatchlings need soft food, as their beaks aren’t fully developed yet.

Black-Capped Chickadee with Food for Babies

Black-Capped Chickadee with Food for Babies

I also stood in front of the bird house and by listening very carefully, I could hear the baby chickadees make little sounds! And then the Mom showed up with her food for them!

I know people do inspect bird nests with flashlights and small mirrors to count the eggs or babies, but I don’t want to do anything to disturb them. I am just going to be patient and wait until they’re ready to leave the nest. There is concrete under the bird house, so I’m going to put something soft down incase the babies fall out. I don’t want them to get hurt!


Black-Capped Chickadee Talking to their Young: “I’ll be right back with more food!”


The Black-Capped Chickadees are very cautious. They try to make sure that no other bird sees them going to and from the nest.  But they seem to think that us humans are OK!