Red-shafted Flicker captured by Z 9 / 800f5.6 w/TC-1.25

With temperatures hitting single digits for much of Northern US, our resident critters could use a hand weathering the weather. It’s pretty simple, putting out a buffet of water, food and shelter make their lives just a little easier. You’ll need to place a birdbath heater in any water you put out so it doesn’t freeze. In our water feature, we have a horse trough heater keeping it ice-free and it is by far the busiest place on The Ranch! We have seed feeders all around The Ranch going through 20-40lbs of seed a week. We have just one peanut feeder out this winter. And we have four suet feeders out and quite active. We’ve had as many as seventeen flickers at the feeders at one time. There is an ulterior motive here and while I want to help the critters, I wanna help my photography as well. While I’m illustrating this piece with a flicker at the feeder, I don’t want to take photos of critters at the feeders.

The feeders and baths are placed so the critters go to a shelter (shrubs or woodpiles) or perch before and after they get their fill. That’s where the photos are made. If you’re putting out the buffet for the first time, you might have to be a little patient at first. You might have critters instantly or it might take a little time. Whatever the case, spend time watching them, watch their pattern coming and going, and then set up your camera for that spot they land with the best background. Or place your perch (attached to a light stand) for them to land with the best background. It’s a lot of fun and your guests will love you.

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