This is a diary of the adventures of two zebra finches, with some other miscellaneous information about the escapades of their companion and ghost writer.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Photo of Some Beads

Here is a photo of some carnelian beads. Nothing to do with the birds, just an idea for a Valentine's Day card.

Shredded-paper Nest

Stanley is having some trouble arranging the very long shredded paper which I put into the bottom of his house, but he and Darryl persevere and eventually make a comfy nest. Here is Stanley is taking a rest.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Groomin' on a Sunday Afternoon

Darryl, on the right, is grooming Stanley who looks like he is enjoying the attention. They are both healthy and active during these warm summer days, and always spend some time looking out the window and calling to friends who might be out there.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bench and its Shadow

I just printed this image of a bench and its shadow, and hung it on my wall.

Sunset Lighthouse

Summer is in full swing according the marina activity. Here it is just before sundown after things have calmed and the boats are in for the night.

House Cleaning

That is Stanley on the left, and Darryl on the right, in case you have forgotten who is who. This is what they were doing while I was cleaning their apartment this morning, and complaining the whole time, too. coo coo coo COO COOCOOCOO!

Now their home is clean, and they are comfy without the BIG HAND in there. They have fresh seeds and water, a small dish of ground oyster shells, and a live and growing parsley plant which they nibble on. They need their veggies!

I put some fresh string into that nest which I bought, but they threw that stuff out. What do I know about interior design?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stanley, Darryl's New Companion

Stanley (center), Darryl's new companion as of today, is petite compared to Darryl, and he is faun colored, not gray like the normal zebra finch. I put the travel cage next to the main one for a few hours, then opened the coincidentally aligned doors and pushed the cages together. At some point, Stanley hopped into the main cage, and now they are friends after a couple of brief tussles to establish the pecking order.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Added Some Baffles to Darryl's House

Now that we are nearing the first day of summer, and the sun is coming around further west before it sets--and now that the air conditioning is on--I had to add some baffles to the outside of Darryl's house to block any drafts from the vent above him, and to give him some shade in the late afternoon. At that time, though, I can place his bath in sunlight and he gets to sit in the sun to fix his feathers after his daily plunge.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Are you REALLY looking at the scenery?

Those of you without a photographer's eye are missing a lot of pleasure in the scenery. I wonder how many would have noticed--consciously--this image of a bench and its powerful shadow.

Summer weather is creeping into Ontario.

More and more frequently we are having weather suitable for a walk along the Lake, and I am taking advantage of those days. And now that the Sunnyside Pavilion Cafe is open, it is a perfect destination for my longer treks, with the promise of some ice cream upon arriving at that destination. Also, photo ops abound along the way as witnessed by the above example.

Neurotic Darryl?

I think Darryl is going stir crazy being the only bird in the house. He jumps from perch A to perch B to C then back again over and over. I am trying to get a new companion for him--besides me--poor little guy. He must be bored out of his little mind.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Goodbye, Daryl

I brought Daryl home from the avian vet in a little white box.

He was more sick than I had imagined. The vet suspected something called PDD or Tuberculosis, either one of which would be a disaster for little Daryl. She told me that he had lost so much weight that recovery was questionable. She outlined a plan of diagnosis and temporary treatment before finding out what, exactly, was wrong with him, and then she described the treatment under various scenarios.

He was eating non-stop but it was obvious that he was not digesting his food. As a result, he was very weak, couldn't fly well, and was unstable on his feet.

With the vet's advice I decided that we should put Daryl to sleep permanently which the vet took care of in another room. I'll bury the little guy near the lake tomorrow. Then I'll call the breeder to give him that information, and get another companion for Darryl before he gets too lonely.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Napping Daryl

I'm worried about Daryl. He stays with his feathers fluffed, and he sleeps a lot while Darryl goes about building a nest around him and chirping and hopping about their apartment like a happy bird. I wonder if Daryl is sick. Whenever it is on, he sits in the heat of the little lamp put there for that purpose.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Darryl resting in the early spring.

Here is Darryl enjoying a midday rest before his bath in the late afternoon when the sun shines into his house.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Darryl resting during a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Spring has Sprung!

Time for More String

D&D have used all of the string in the box, so I'll have to get some more for them. Both are working on another string nest on the opposite side, gathering bits of string from the bottom of their apartment.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Renovating the giant nest.

A bit more to the left, Darryl.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Monster Nest

Daryl and Darryl collaborated on this construction, and built it this morning. There is still more string in the box, so the pile might get higher.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fish-Design Textile Pattern

Here is one version of the fish design repeated on fabric. Several arrangements are possible, and the design can be made larger or smaller.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fabric Design

I'm trying my hand at designing some fabric patterns on a site called This is one of my designs.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Arizona Cactus

The climate in Arizona is conducive to the growth of cacti, and the Phoenix Botanical Gardens have a great variety of them. I found that a good way of highlighting the needles on cacti is by photographing them when they are back-lit, preferably against the sky for a plain background. That kind of light exists in the morning or evening with the low angle of the sun at those times of the day. Metering is tricky, but measuring the brightness of the needles with a spot meter and placing the measurement on zone 7 or so is just about right. (Thanks, Ansel.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Portrait Detail of Daryl

Here is a detail showing the delicate feathers of Daryl's head, and the quality of my Canon 100mm macro lens and 5D camera with "full-frame" (24mm x 36mm) sensor. (In spite of your camera or lens, lighting & exposure are the crucial steps in the photo process.)

Darryl Bathing Alone

Here is Darryl with the bath all to himself, and not looking like such a crazed bather. The average bath takes a minute or two, though they sometimes re-enter, having missed a spot or two, I guess. They manage to splash water everywhere, so I wrap the bottom portion of their apartment with some transparent plastic--partially removed for the photos. The door is wide open (for the photo), but they seem to ignore the possibility of escape.

D&D Bathing

Here are Daryl and Darryl bathing like a couple of little maniacs. They love the bath! You should see the video which is even more amusing. I combined ambient light with bounced flash (to freeze the action somewhat), with the addition of one of those fluorescent "day" light bulbs without a reflector--and almost touching the lens--for fill.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Arizona Hummingbird

Some of the hummingbirds were not so skittish--usually the ones without the bright colors. I was able to make several photos of this one and had to deliberately move so that he/she would go and make room for a more colorful bird like the ruby-throated one.

Hummingbirds in Arizona

I visited some hummingbirds in Phoenix, Arizona this morning. They are surely fast fliers and without a flash it would be impossible to even see their wings while they are hovering.  I put a folding bounce diffuser onto my Vivitar flash on camera, and used the sky as a background. I seem to have got the flash exposure (aperture) and ambient light exposure (aperture and shutter speed, F-11@1/100 sec.) just right on this sunny morning at 8:45 am.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daryl and Darryl were so annoyed while I was putting that background paper into their apartment, and then I couldn't figure out how to get them to come to the correct perch for their end-of-January photo. Our portrait session settled down, though, when I realized that food would be the thing to calm them, and get them to the right place . A new dowel perch, few holes drilled for their food cup, some millet seeds (which they love), and voila!

I used a large softbox about 300 watt-seconds, very close to their house, and a Canon 100mm macro lens on a Canon 5D.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So that Daryl and Darryl will have a place to sit in order to get warm--especially after having a bath--I've attached a small lamp to their domicile. Above is Daryl soaking up some rays.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cozy Nest

I had to sneak into the darkened living room to make this photo, but Daryl was having none of it; he hopped out of the nest and onto a more distant perch. Darryl, however, wasn't going to give up his warm spot atop those bits of string lining the nest, so he stayed for this (flash) photo op.

Earlier in the afternoon we three shared a golden delicious apple. mmmm

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I think I will add the New Year photo of Daryl and Darryl to my collection for sale at the address above--where I am known as Strauski.  Have a look.

New Year Photo

Daryl (on the left) and Darryl (peeking from the corner) in their New Year photo. The string is from a nest, on a platform above, made of a huge heap of string bits. The nest on which Daryl is perched has in it a few bits of string, but they seem to prefer the platform (more heat up higher in this cold weather?). Someone said that Daryl seems to be gaining weight, but I think he is merely fluffed up in the less than tropical temperature of my apartment.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Princeton University

I left Daryl and Darryl in the care of The Cat Lady, and I went on a little holiday, including a visit to the museum on the lovely campus of Princeton University. I enjoyed a photo exhibition of the work of Emmet Gowin, and some mosaics from Greece and Rome, and especially some small glass bottles from Asia.

When making photos of stuff in glass cases, as these bottles were, turn off the flash on your camera, set the light balance for tungsten (probably), press the lens against the glass, and push the shutter button. You'll make very nice pictures. I made these with my phone.