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Backyard Birds

June 9, 2010

So…. I have been going about this backwards, but I have been enjoying my backyard birds for ages. My experiences would be enhanced, so I’ve been told, if I actually kept records… and maybe I will – next year – it is too late this year to start – that’s my excuse. So a New Year’s Resolution…. I have been trying to go the “natural” way. I have added water – two baths and a fountain – and have been trying to go more “native” with the plants in hope of enticing native birds and have not put out feeders.

I have noticed over the years that some birds just are not here any more. There used to be some of those cute doves with the dots on their neck on the front lawn. Long gone and I don’t know when. There used to be shrikes on the wire – not for years. There are, however, new guys on the block. Several years ago a Pacific Slope Flycatcher chose my front porch light as a nesting site. Who knows why, but I did take the lightbulb out so as to not inadvertently roast them. The little guys built their nest and laid an egg and one day all three of them were gone. I must admit that there was a little training in this exercise. I was trained to put those little bugs things (meal worms – easier than catching flies) in a feeder and many days between 11 + 1 a soft “pa-weet” would signal that it was time for lunch. That year was the only one that they nested in public, but I just heard the “pa-weet” so they are nearby.

This year it has been the usual California Towhees, Wrentit, Bewick’s Wrens, Song Sparrows, Bushtits, Spotted Towhees and the new stars – Juncos (officially – Oregon or Dark-Eyed). Several months ago I started noticing some movement in the Staghorn Fern outside my kitchen window. Something would zing in or out as I would get near the sink. To call these birds flighty would be (aside from a bad pun) an understatement. The little zoomers have been in and out and all around. If I am outside I would hear the little chip note of one of them keeping watch and warning. I love to watch the little white streamers at the edge of the tail. Well, it is June and the Juncos are still here. One just took a bath and then dropped down to the lawn to check out the possibility of lunch. They have been seen lately picking off something from spider webs (snacks ?) . They are still in and out of the fern. I assume there is a nest back there, but babies ? And shouldn’t they be moving on soon ?

So if I kept records I would know when who was where ?

Ellen Vahan

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