Our fifty outdoor pets

If you like watching large decorative birds eating seed, flapping around and squabbling with each other, this is the blog post for you.

As regular readers know, I shovel ever-increasing quantities of seed down the throats of whatever birds deign to visit the table on our deck. Most of the freeloaders that show up are Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (they even outnumber the pigeons!), and I've shot video of them before. But it only now occured to me that I could clamp the camera onto the table and go away.

So that's what I did.

This is before the full afternoon mob showed up, so it's relatively civilised.

Same table, most of the same cockatoos, a little further away.

And now, the afternoon rush!

It gets a bit samey toward the end, there, but I laughed every time another huge beak filled the screen, so I let it roll.

(I swear one of 'em tries to say "cock a doodle doo" at 5:44.)

10 Responses to “Our fifty outdoor pets”

  1. Popup Says:

    Have you ever played with CHDK? I know that you're a dedicated DSLR user, but surely you have a couple of old ixi (or what is the plural of ixus?) stashed away somewhere?

    It's a 'firmware extension' that enables you to run small scripts, such as e.g. motion detection or time-lapse photography. I've used it to catch birds feeding at our tiny birdfeeder, but only for stills. We don't get anywhere near the same size or density of birds, but I wanted to see who gets there in the end, so I let it run for a couple of hours. (I'm not sure if you can do motion-detect films, but it wouldn't surprise me.)

    It works on most compact digital Canons from this century. (It doesn't support my ancient 'digital ixus' from early 2000, but runs OK on both my 'ixus 400' and 'ixus 760is'.) Apparently there's some work on a DSLR version, but there hasn't been much advancement since I started following it a year ago (when I bought my first DSLR, an EOS-1000D).

  2. Foodgem Says:

    For DSLR, trap focus (catch in focus on my Pentax) works a treat for stuff like this. Of course you need a manual lens (or one that can be switched to manual focus) and I know how you Canon boys are scared of turning off the AF.

    I used it very successfully at our last pocketbike race and turned the stills into a very quick timelapse - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XamB2WdPCG4

    There was actually a lot of time in there where there were no bikes for the camera to shoot, but because it only takes a shot when something is in focus, it doesn't waste shots and you also get a huge number of keepers.

  3. RichVR Says:

    While watching the second video, my quaker parrot (who was happily grooming me) decided to fly to her cage and start eating. I guess the video made her hungry.

  4. FuzzyPlushroom Says:

    Bit of high-density violence there at 3:10, eh? I laughed good and hard at that squawk.

  5. skaar Says:

    funny of funny, at least to me, there was an instructable for laser triggered camera's that use chdk yesterday.

  6. reyalp Says:

    Regarding CHDK, there is no work on a DSLR version. The systems are too different to make it worthwhile to try to run the same code on both. However, there is an independent project that grew out of work on the CHDK forum: http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/Magic_Lantern_Firmware_Wiki From what I understand this only supports the 5D mark II right now, but I haven't been following closely.

    Some CHDK users have come up with very nice wildlife shots using motion detection: http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php/topic,1038.30.html

  7. Rob L Says:

    Grain fed Cockatoo MmmmmMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    For birds with bills that can have your finger off they can have peculiar habits. Ours would peel the skin off grapes, obviously didn't suit her refined palate.

  8. arvidsem Says:

    FYI, your click through from your twitter account takes you through a bit.ly stopbadware.org page warning about unsolicited content before you get here.

  9. Bastard Child Says:

    Dan your cocks put a smile on every man's face. Oh wait, that came out kind of gay...


  10. Mighty Says:

    One of the funniest things I ever saw was a flock of pigeons in Amsterdam at the edge of the town square. Someone had dropped a TV dinner on the ground and they had left the pudding uneaten. Obviously, very tasty to the birds.

    Eventually I noticed something interesting. I could pick out the pecking order of the birds by the amount of pudding on the back of a bird's head :-)

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