Bushtits: Photo essay

Today’s instalment of the bird photos I’ve taken over the past few months features a photo essay of one of the smallest birds found in the Metro Vancouver area, the Bushtit* (Mésange buissonière / Psaltriparus minimus) – only hummingbirds are smaller, in fact. (*Outside of North America, this bird is known as the American Bushtit.)

These birds almost always travel in flocks of about 10-40 birds, except around nesting time, when you may only see a pair together. In the winter months, flocks are especially large and are easy to spot because the birds twitter quite loudly; seeing their acrobatics on impossibly small twigs and leaves can be quite entertaining! Another peculiarity of this bird is that eye colour is the only way to reliably tell the sexes appart in the field: The males have a dark brown eye, while the female’s is a striking yellow.

The following photos were taken in February 2015 – exact location, date and photo specifications are included at the very end:

BUSH_female_01-UBC-2015_02_11

BUSH_male_02-UBC-2015_02_11

BUSH_male_03-Stanley_Park-2015_02_21

BUSH_female_04-Stanley_Park-2015_02_21

All photos taken with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. None of these birds were baited, called in or set up. Specific details for each photo are as follows…

  • Female taken at the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus (UBC), February 11, 2015: ISO 1600 / 300mm / f5.6 / 1/200.
  • Male taken at UBC, February 11, 2015: ISO 1600 / 300mm / f5.6 / 1/125.
  • Male taken in Stanley Park’s Rose Garden, Vancouver, BC, Canada on February 21, 2015: ISO 400 / 300mm / f5.6 / 1/1000.
  • Female taken in Stanley Park’s Rose Garden, Vancouver, BC, Canada on February 21, 2015: ISO 720 / 300mm / f5.6 / 1/1000.
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