Yellow Spring

We can always tell when Spring has “officially” arrived at our home. The Washington State bird calls out the arrival. The Willow Goldfinch or American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) is a bright yellow bird that was legislatively declared the winner of official state bird in 1951 after 30 years of debates.

Male Goldfinch

Female Goldfinch

The Goldfinch was selected over another spring bird the Western Tanager.

Male Western Tanager

As these birds arrive in our yard we know that the season has changed from winter’s last grasp to the warming arms of spring. The bright flecks of yellow in the yard is why we view it a “yellow spring.”

Male Goldfinch faces the setting sun


Hummingbird Photography Setup

I was asked to share how I get the hummingbirds to sit on branches to photograph them.

Coming in for a landing

I learned the trick from reading Moose Peterson’s Captured. He set up feeders and branches on his deck and can take pictures of the birds that visit in more “natural” settings. I took this idea and set up some landing zones to photograph birds. I set up two locations on my back deck with planters. Both have small feeders as well as branches that are inserted in the planters.

Landing Zone #1

Landing Zone #2

Behind the second zone you can see another spot I set up in my yard. I planted seedlings a few years ago for providing safe zones for birds. Understanding that birds like to come from above, I place branches higher than the feeders. I lower the backyard feeder and the birds land on the branches to check out the area before entering the feeder. It also helps to have three towering cedars, a green belt and lake behind the house. Birds like the sense of safety provided by the trees.

Black-Capped Chickadee

Bright Male Anna's Hummingbird

Junco checking out the seeds

Give it a try. Set up some branches around your feeders and take your pictures when the birds land on the branches rather than the feeders.