The Bad Seed

More accurately, a bad choice of seed as a lure at the Birdcam can produce unexpected results.  In a previous post I mentioned setting up the Birdcam station with a mix of sunflower and safflower seed.  This was done in an effort to catch another photo of a Red Crossbill.  The lure was successful, but not in the way I anticipated.  It became obvious now was not the best time of the year for this mix of seed.

On the first day, I got more than 1,200 shots, but no Crossbills.  On the second day, the Birdcam captured over 1,500!  From last Friday, I was facing 1,729 photos which was almost the full capacity of the SD card.  Obviously, the word was getting around in Birdland that there was a great new restaurant in town.  In all those photos, not a single Red Crossbill could be found.  Instead, I was getting mostly House Finches and House Sparrows together with dozens of their fledglings.

The biggest problem was the prospect of dealing with numbers approaching 2,000 photos a day.  The chore of scanning through them, renaming the keepers and deleting the rest was becoming an ordeal.  In that number, there may be only 20-30 pictures worth keeping.  So the quest for a Red Crossbill has been temporarily put on hold.  Getting photos of House Finches is not the problem.  Getting 1,200 photos of House Finches in a single day is.

Targeting a specific bird species for capture by the Birdcam can become a bit like Waiting for Godot.  I have decided to set up again for Hummingbird shots.  I'll try for Crossbills another time.  When I bought the first Birdcam, I feared it was a gimmick that wouldn't really work.  Believe me, I shed those fears long ago.


  1. Just a thought Dave can you maybe try face detection on the birds so once tagged you might be able to find them without going thru every photo. Especially if you are looking for a special one. Hope you are enjoying this wonderful weather. Hugs Carrie

  2. I think those finches and sparrows are cute, but I guess if you've got a lot of shots of them it's not so thrilling. Can't wait to see the hummingbirds. Once while kayaking in Skagit Bay (over by Goat Island) I got buzzed by a confused hummingbird who was about to polinate the embroidered flowers on my baseball-style cap!

  3. Carrie, now that's high-tech. I haven't even tried that with people yet. Weather has been nice.
    Jill, The House Finches are cute. Their numbers are possibly our own fault. Apparently clearing land for agriculture and bird feeders have influenced their spread and numbers. They are also displacing our native Purple Finches. We have to keep in mind that putting out bird feeders is actually changing the environment. Was that Hbird going chip-chip-chip the whole time?


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