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Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Birdcam works

I needed to make sure that the Birdcam didn't contain some kind of bird repellent or, more important, squirrel attractant. Call me paranoid, but I've observed waterfowl at a particular stretch of shoreline nearly every time I've been in Prospect Park for the past 10 years and the Birdcam only captured images of squirrels ... well, you see where I'm going with this.

Every winter my friend Peter puts up a pair of bird feeders at the edge of the woods on Breeze Hill. It's the spot where I recently photographed a Pine Siskin. I decided to test out the Birdcam at that location.

I attached the camera to a locust tree next to the mixed seed feeders using the included bungee cords. The thistle feeder was full of seeds, but there didn't seem to be any finches around using it. I felt almost like I was cheating because I wouldn't actually be taking the photographs. The birds would be creating their own self-portraits ... hopefully. My initial plan was to leave the camera overnight, but the feeder was so busy with chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and other winter birds that I thought leaving it for a couple of hours would suffice.

After a few hours I retrieved the camera and brought it home. I plugged it into my computer and walked away for a few minutes. I couldn't bear the thought of watching the images slowly pop up on my screen, only to see squirrels robbing the feeders. I gave the software several minutes to load all the photos, then sat down in front of my computer. Low and behold, there wasn't a single squirrel on the screen. The Birdcam had captured Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Chipping Sparrow and Purple Finch. The Chipping Sparrow was a nice surprise as they usually don't hang around Prospect Park this late into the year.

by Rob Jett for "The City Birder"

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Praise the lord.