Posts Tagged ‘feeding’

There may not have been a lot of seeds in the dried-out marsh plants, but this little chickadee, which I am pretty sure is a Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis), seemed determined to get every last one.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I am getting a little better at bird identification and can identify the birds in these photos as probably American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis). However, just went I thought I could differentiate between a male and a female, I found out that non-breeding males look a lot like females. Wow! This is getting more complicated. Here’s some of my favorite goldfinch shots from this past weekend, when there seemed to be quite a few goldfinchs feeding on the bushes at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.

American Goldfinch looking back at me

American Goldfinch in a tree

American Goldfinch perched at the top

American Goldfinch feeding

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When it comes to photographing birds, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. If I can get a clear shot of a bird with a relatively uncluttered background, that constitutes a good photograph for me.  By that low standard, this image that I took a week ago is a successful one. My bird identification skills are still so weak that I won’t even hazard a guess at what kind of bird it is, but I like this modest image of this little bird.

Little bird feeding in the wild

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Recently I have become fascinated with spiders, and in particular the Black and Yellow Garden Orbweaver spiders (Argiope aurantia). I’ve spent an amazing amount of time observing them and their webs. Already I have posted photos of the spiders themselves, their webs, and several types of prey that they have captured and wrapped in silk.

This past Monday I observed what I think was a spider actually feeding on a victim that I can’t quite identify. For some reason I used to think that spiders ate solid food, but now I understand that they have a mostly liquid diet. According to an article at earthlife.net, the mouth parts of these spiders have a serrated edge to cut into the prey and a filtering edge covered in fine hairs that prevents solid particles from entering the spider’s mouth. This filtering system is so fine that only particles smaller than 1 micron (0.001 of a mm) can pass through. The spider’s venom has enzymes which can help liquify the insides of a victim and the spider may also excrete digestive juices onto the victim. Spiders then have a sucking stomach that helps them ingest the liquids.

Argiope aurantia feeding on captured prey

Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that I rotated the image 90 degrees counterclockwise to make it easier to see what is going on. Note the positions of some of the spider’s legs as she cradles her victim. If you click on the image, you will get a higher-resolution view of the spider. My apologies if I have been too graphic in describing this spider’s digestive process.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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