Images of Spring: Rosy Finches, Song Sparrows, and Cute Squirrels (photos)

by redelf

Back yard nature photography; springtime bird watching; images of Rosy Finches, Song Sparrow, adorable Red Squirrel; spring birds

We all love nature photos, especially of cute birds and animals. This spring, I spent a week at a friend's acreage collecting shots of the cutest critters you've ever seen.

Their back yard is a nature photographer's heaven. All I had to do is park my camera in front of one of the many bird feeders, and begin clicking the shutter.

I just wasn't counting on clicking my shutter so early in the morning...

Early morning bird song

It's lovely to wake up to the song of Rosy Finches and Song Sparrows

Waking up in a strange house can be disconcerting. Waking up at 5:00 a.m. in a strange house to the trilling of happy birds in the nearby trees can be even more disconcerting. After a very late night hashing over family problems, waking up at 5:00 a.m. to trilling birds before you've even had your morning coffee can be disconcerting in the extreme.

Don't get me wrong - I am generally a morning person, though I do like to start my days with a steaming "cup o' java" which is sometimes the best part of the day, especially when you're trying to help resolve family problems.

The resolving part had turned out to be fairly easy in the end, after all - a single day of packing, teeth-gritting, and tongue-biting, followed by a swiftly loaded moving van that wrote the finish to that painful scenario. 

The slightly giddy, tearful, and long-into-the-night after-math had been draining but affirming. What I hadn't been at all prepared for was the Walt Disney dawn chorus of happy little birdies, all happily proclaiming their mating search - right outside my window.

You could hear the feathered Don Juans calling for miles around. It seemed as if spring had arrived overnight, filling the new day with a symphony of twitters, from the melodic morning burble of the Red-Winged Blackbird to the cheerful and unmistakable Oh, Canada, Canada, Canada of the White-Capped Sparrow.

The finches that graced our morning kaffee klatch had many of the typical features of the finch family - the stubby, seed-cracking beak, and the distinctive flight. Like all true finches, they had the bouncing flight of most small birds of their kind -  alternating bouts of flapping with gliding on closed wings.

I can also attest to the fact that they are good singers, as they sang well, long, and with great gusto, especially when there was a lady in sight.

Though I found their song was lovely, once I became accustomed to hearing them at first light, it was their beautiful plumage and the wide variety of markings that I found the most striking. The red shades in their coloring ranged from barely-pink, to a warm golden rose, to quite a bright red.

I must admit I missed some of the choicer moments of the male finches mating display. Sometimes, we were having too much fun just laughing at their antics to focus the camera properly.

Rosy Finch (photos)

Colorful male Rosy Finch
Colorful male Rosy Finch
Elle Fredine
Posing for the camera
Posing for the camera
Elle Fredine
Potential Mates?
Potential Mates?
Elle Fredine
Finch "On Deck"
Finch "On Deck"
Elle Fredine

Sparrow meets Finch - who gets the seeds?

This meeting between a Song Sparrow and a Rosy Finch didn't last long
Uneasy Truce
Uneasy Truce
Elle Fredine

Helpful books about birds

North American Birds: books and field guides

Rosy Finch (Wikipedia)

Learn more about the Rosy Finch on Wikipedia
The true finches are passerine birds in the family Fringillidae. They are predominantly seed-eating songbirds. Most are native to the Northern Hemisphere, but one subfamily is endemic to the Neotropics, one to the Hawaiian Islands, and one subfamily – monotypic at genus level – is found only in the Palaearctic. The scientific name Fringillidae comes from the Latin word fringilla for the Chaffinch – a member of that last subfamily – which is common in Europe. ...

Feuding at the bird-feeder

Red Squirrels can be very territorial when it comes to chasing Sparrows away from a cache of black sunflower seeds

Did I mention we were staying at a friend's acreage? ...surrounded by woods, wildlife, and hiking trails... and very noisy birds?

As it turned out, we were not the only ones who didn't appreciate the birds. A couple of Red Squirrels had taken a proprietary interest in the bird feeders, at least in the two or three they could easily reach. The machine gun-like staccato chirping of an angry squirrel is second only to a crowing rooster as a guaranteed wake-up call. You can keep your big city alarm clocks - these boys know how to get the job done.

Helpful books on wildlife photography

How to take great wildlife and bird photos

Red Squirrel antics

Red squirrels are certainly busy little creatures.

Watching these little creatures rushing back and forth on the branches of a nearby evergreen, trying to protect the stash of sunflower seeds, all the while descrying the incursion of those wretched birds, kept us amused for hours on end - once we had our morning cup of coffee in hand, of course.

I was thrilled when one of the little marauders decided she needed to add some spring green to her diet, as I was able to get some adorable photos of her munching fresh evergreen tips. Cute squirrel, lush backdrop of evergreens fro perfect contrast - what nature photographer could have asked for more?

Early morning foraging (Red Squirrel photos)

Would you go through as much effort as this little squirrel for fresh greens?
I Can Almost Reach
I Can Almost Reach
Elle Fredine
Come To Mama
Come To Mama
Elle Fredine
Elle Fredine
Elle Fredine
Yummy Evergreen Salad
Yummy Evergreen Salad
Elle Fredine
Adorable Ms. Squirrel
Adorable Ms. Squirrel
Elle Fredine

American Red Squirrel (Wikipedia)

Learn more about Red Squirrels...
The American red squirrel is one of three species of tree squirrel currently classified in the genus Tamiasciurus and known as pine squirrels. American red squirrels are also referred to as pine squirrels, North American red squirrels, and chickarees. It is a medium sized diurnal mammal that defends a year-round exclusive territory. The diet of these tree squirrels is specialized on the seeds of conifer cones. As such, they are widely distributed across North America wherever conifer...

Sorting out the bounty

Now it's time to catalogue all my digital photos of Finches, Sparrows, and Red Squirrels

It will probably take days for me to sort and categorize the hundreds of photos I managed to take in a few short days. At time, it seemed all I did was to grab a morning coffee, sit on the deck and click the shutter, make breakfast, sit on the deck and click the shutter, make lunch, have more coffee, go for a long walk and click the shutter, take a quick break for supper, and sit on the deck and click the shutter 'til it was too dark to see.

I learned a lot about those little critters, from my friends who own the acreage, aside from the fact that they are SO photogenic, and I learned a few tricks with my digital camera.

Digital cameras

Here's the digital camera I used

In the end, I have some good photos, a few not-so-good photos (got to love digital media for being able to delete bad shots, instead of wasting film), and some really great ones that will be printed up for cards - all in all, a great time, that flew by all too quickly. 

For those interested in digital photography, here's the camera I used. It's actually "old news" now, and probably out of date, as it was purchased over a year ago. 

The nice man at the camera store explained that these cameras do lots more than most people need. Apparently, even professionals don't use some of the features that most digital cameras offer.

This reminded me of cell phones, which were once exclusively used to make phone calls, and can now take still photos, make videos, surf the net, and update your status on social networking sites... now if cellphones would just learn to make a decent cup of coffee...

Digital SLR cameras

Here are two favorite digital single lens reflex (SLR) cameras
Pentax K-x 12.4 MP Digital SLR with 2.7-inch LCD and 18-5...
Only $649.95
Pentax K-r 12.4 MP Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD a...
Only $749.95

(c) 2012 Text and photos by Elle Fredine, All rights reserved, You are expressly forbidden to copy or reproduce this text or photos by any means without written permission from the author.

Updated: 07/27/2012, redelf
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katiem2 on 06/26/2012

I spotted a red finch at my finch feeder. Now that I've noticed it I see many others among the yellow finches. Funny what you see once you become aware of it. :)K

redelf on 06/10/2012

Brenda and Tolovaj, thanks so much for your support. We have very different birds here from the ones I knew from ON, but some are familiar friends. I love my digital camera, but still have a lot to learn about it - too many features.

Tolovaj on 06/10/2012

It looks birds and squirrels were not only busy ones:) Beautiful photos!

I am looking around for new digital camera too, but ones who have good resolution and are fast seem a little too expensive at the moment. Good news is every year we can get better models for less money...

BrendaReeves on 06/09/2012

Those are such beautiful photos. I've never seen a rosy finch. I moved from CA to KY, and I just love all the beautiful birds here.

redelf on 06/08/2012

Thanks so much, Roohi! You should see the next few shots (which I managed to get), where the finch goes ballistic and chases the sparrow away!

Roohi on 06/08/2012

These photos are quite amazing indeed. I really like that "uneasy truce" photo. Thanks for sharing.

redelf on 06/07/2012

Thanks, Marie and Kate! Glad you liked the photos! We have yellow finches here, too - wild ones, but I've only ever seen them out at the lake. They look like a flock of tiny bright canaries.

Marie on 06/07/2012

Gorgeous! I adore the red squirrel photos. Thank you for sharing :)

katiem2 on 06/07/2012

This is amazing and right up my alley. I love finches, I have the most brilliant yellow finches coming to my feeders. I rarely see the rosy finches they are amazing. I love drinking my money tea or coffee while watching the birds and squirrels eat. I love feeding them and watching them amazing. Great photo's and camera.

redelf on 06/07/2012

Thanks so much, Sheri. I can spend all day taking photos - and did :)

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