Deep in the Season of Down – GBBD in Winter


Is all about flying color. A post for those that only come to the northern states monthly… see what you missed in the garden. But there is much more for the rest of you to explore. We have the newly posted Downy… Peck, Peck, Peck…


More to explore? Like the books I read… wanna know?


I know many of you have seen 1 thru 5 in the series, but two more are on the way with the previews below. Camera settings are in each post and in the last post in the series, you get a sense of shooting in sunlight on winter snow. It is one of the hardest landscape shots to judge exposure.

The post on Woodpeckers, Peck, Peck, Peck, shows camera settings on the gloomiest, rainy day, where cloud covered skies prevail. A post to highlight the difference between a blown out background of a white sky and getting definition in a black and white subject. I had no ability to use flash when it was most beneficial. No long-winded advice, just a look to see the camera settings. They may be of help in a similar situation. Winter scenes have their good days and their bad days…


Each graphic in this post has slightly different photos than the post it features, like our squirrel. Poor guys did not get their turn yet… Just too many birds…

The graphics in this post each has a tip or two from the previous posts in the series.


Click any image to get taken to the post about the bird and some backyard tips you might not know.

The posts are filled with ideas and techniques learned from video classes I took from Moose Peterson, a well-known photographer and naturalist. One of the classes, Shooting Backyard Birds, dealt with making your backyard photo friendly and a working habitat for the wildlife that visit.

His book Captured: Lessons Learned from Behind the Lens of a Legendary Wildlife Photographer is a great read of his over 30 years of beautiful and unique moments in nature. After reading this book, I look at photography in nature differently, with more heart, more passion. Plus I learned a lot about animal behavior I did not know.

I also use the The Sibley Guide to Birds for a great identifying resource. I love the graphic illustration in this book. It makes me want to bring out the brushes and paints myself.

The website of choice… The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds.


Click the woodpecker and see a bunch more in a collage, or use the link to the post, Peck, Peck, Peck. The post has images on a rainy day of a yard is filled with Downys, and for the 16th., a few more from the top of the pear. Hammer it hard little woodpecker…How did I get up there? Next post, find out. The Woodpecker tip is in the graphic above.


Then there is one more post in this series, Cardinals in the Snow – The Search for Food. I and Carolyn, from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, are off to sun and surf for ten days in my farewell post on the 18th. Do you know where we are headed?

Joining May Dreams Gardens

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
This entry was posted in garden, Nature and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Deep in the Season of Down – GBBD in Winter

  1. OH MY ! This is a treasure trove of incredible information and beautiful photographs. How ever did you create the front pages that you show here? I’ve yet to figure out even putting on a single line of text on a photo. Marvelous! Book marking this for future birding/gardening tips.

    • Photoshop! I layer, manipulate opacity and mask. The text is the easiest because Photoshop creates a new layer to place the text. I also save it for the web in a reduced size. Thank you for book marking. I am honored.

  2. Really neat lead in to all of your wonderful posts!

  3. alesiablogs says:

    I am saving this under my favorites! Thank you for sharing of your wisdom!

  4. Thank you, Donna! These are some of your best posts ever, and so helpful! Now I’m curious–are you headed to Mexico? California? Hawaii? Can’t wait to find out!

  5. Victor Ho says:

    I’m laughing because you hit a lot of very relevant topics – squirrels, hawks, blue jays… The squirrels and my wife have been at war for a couple winters now. She insisted on a homemade remedy. Finally she used cooking oil and they just couldn’t cling to the feeder. And hawks got one poor dove. I know because I saw the blood on the window, the feathers on the snow, and finally the body. The hawk had caught the dove and crashed the window. Even among the feeding is a sense of wariness. No one is truly safe. Great post!

    • The cooking oil works great. The squirrels are none too happy about it though. The hawks get doves here too. Poor slow doves. Birds are on edge here too because the hawks are visiting daily. The little birds spend a lot of time hidden in the conifers.

  6. Hi Donna. This is such an amazing and informative post. You have captured the winter wildlife beautifully…loved it!

  7. Marisa says:

    Your bird posts have been just wonderful, Donna. Have a fabulous holiday wherever you are heading.

  8. Helene says:

    Hi, I have been following your series of posts with interests, really good and informative. I decided to finally buy a feeding station a couple of weeks ago so I could perhaps get a chance of taking some photos of the many birds I know is around here – I can hear them so I know they are there! Your posts were very good timed! But no bird has touched the feed in the 2 weeks it has been up, I haven’t taken a single bird photo. In my naivety I thought I could just buy good seed mix from a reputable place and then the birds would come flying in! What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Helene. I did not know you were visiting here. I am sorry the birds are not touching the feeder yet. I would guess they are testing its safety and will come when they determine nothing bad will happen. Two weeks is a long time though. Usually it is only days. Even at a new location at the Falls, it is only one day until they decide to feed from what I leave for them. I put it out and come the next day and it is filled with birds. And this is in the forest, not the tourist areas. Maybe cats are stalking?

      • Helene says:

        Thanks for your reply, I read a lot more posts than I am able to leave messages on, I am trying to post more messages, but it takes a lot of time πŸ™‚
        I think you might be right about cats in general, I have one myself, but he is mainly indoors, sleeping most of the time as it is cold – and so are the other cats in the area.

        I have been watching the bird feeder from my kitchen window and can’t really see any reason for why the birds haven’t arrived yet… I will write a post about this, take some photos and ask my readers, there might be some obvious things I haven’t thought about being completely new to this!

  9. Bernieh says:

    Simply fabulous. What a terrific read and the photos were just wonderful. You do have some magnificent birds in your part of the world. Didn’t mind those rather cute little squirrels as well.

  10. You have explained the whole process of bid photography and birds themselves so well in this series. Great posters. Can’t wait for our trip. Carolyn

    • Can’t wait either. The snow is holding off so far! Saturday now has a prediction of partly sunny and highs n the 40Β°s. What more can I hope for in our unpredictable weather here in Buffalo (where the airport is located, not me).

  11. Amazing insights on birding and bird photography, esp in winter. Lovely photos! – Renee

  12. Masha says:

    Really great bird photos. It seems the ISO is always really high, yet there is no grain, what camera do you have (or is it Photoshop)? Do you photograph mostly through the window (seems like lots of shots were made from a fairly close distance)? Do you crop a lot? Thanks πŸ™‚

    • I am 8 feet away when shooting through the window. I use a 300mm or 400mm lens hand-held, so most shots do not need cropping. When I crop it, usually it is for better composition, like removing too much headroom for instance. Nikon cameras are very good in low light and grain is minimized. Most of the ‘grain’ in my photos comes from compressing the image for post. The high ISO is for two reasons, low light and to increase the shutter speed. I shoot a lot of birds in flight and having the camera set for the high shutter speed is a must. The post coming up shooting on the snow has much more reasonable camera settings, but it is in much brighter conditions too. Winters here are often gray and gloomy. Also, really removing grain in Photoshop is a multi-step procedure which to me is too time consuming for a post. I rarely will do much more than Lightroom adjustments. For the blog, I rarely shoot in RAW either, but know I should because some of my images are not too bad and would be better had I shot them in RAW.

  13. b-a-g says:

    Donna, I have thoroughly enjoyed your garden wildlife series from the cute dicky birds to the majestic hawk. Bird seed and suet is on my shopping list.

  14. A.M.B. says:

    What a fabulous series! I love the photos (Downy woodpeckers are among my favorite birds), and I appreciate your advice. I’m not a photographer (I wish I were more talented in that department!), but I’m always looking for ways to increase bird sightings in my backyard.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Your bird shots are terrific as always, Donna. Do you use a telephoto lens? Have a great time on your vacation! I am sure there will be lots of great vacation shots on your return.

  16. This is a really impressive series! I always learn more about the birds you feature after reading your posts. I have yet to take decent pix of any local birds, but that’s ok. πŸ™‚ I’m great at things that don’t move, like rocks. I love the woodpeckers, too. I also have downies and some other larger woodpeckers. I love how they walk backwards down the trees to eat the suet I put out.

    • Thanks. I appreciate your comment. After taking the classes, I learned so much I did not know. I have woodpeckers next but only the Downys. I took a shot of a young large woodpecker this summer in my yard but I am not sure which one since it still had spots. It is a male I guess because it has a red crest. I will post it next post and see who can tell me which woodpecker it is.

  17. This week was my birthday and I got a bird book, one from National Geographic. It is a large edition, can’t wait to read through it!!

  18. Indie says:

    I’ve been gone for a few weeks and need to catch up on all these great posts! Some great tips, and I’ll have to check out that book on Shooting Backyard Birds. We have several hawks in the area, but I’ve never seen them around my feeders, thankfully. I guess there is plentiful food in the nearby woods!

  19. Great series Donna and with the arctic freeze coming it is a perfect time to get away…I believe you are headed to the islands of the Caribbean?!

  20. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone show off a starling in an American birder post… thanks, because they’re really quite beautiful (and I doubt their invasive status is going to change anytime soon). Might as well learn to appreciate them. All of your photos and info are amazing, as usual. πŸ™‚

    • I know the starlings are a nuisance, but they are pretty in winter. I agree, we bring various species here and we should learn to appreciate them. Starlings do some amazing acrobatics in the sky.

Comments are closed.