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  • May 23rd, 2008 | 12:21 AM
Friday Five - The Bird Edition

I love California native plants and the wildlife it feeds and serves. When we went looking for our home, we looked at places with big yards and it was easy to envision a native garden there. Alas, we couldn't afford to buy those places so we ended up with a standard home in a standard neighborhood with a small yard (due to remodeling from the previous owners.) And not a single native plant in the yard. We took almost everything out of the yard, except for a Mayten tree in the front and large Japanese maple in the back. There is some lawn but it will go soon. We will begin to plant the yard in the fall but for now, the only activity in the yard comes from the birds who visit the feeders in the front and the back.

So here is my Friday Five - the Bird Edition

#1  Birds are good at waiting.

When I get home from work every day I am greeted by at least one Mourning Dove sitting on the fence and a few more on the ground near the driveway. I adore the Mourning Doves and am jealous that they are nesting in my neighbor's yard and not mine but I know that will change when we get the yard in place.

Sometimes they majestically wait on the broken tip of the Mayten tree (which is coming out soon since it gives zero wildlife value and branches keep falling off in the storms) like this little House Finch.

Sometimes the Goldfinches want to wait a little closer to the action.

#2 Birds know how to make noise.

I am used to hearing the cooing and sounds of the doves, the scrub jays and the chittering of various other birds. But I was pleasantly surprised to see what I think is a Nuttall's woodpecker visit our one tree in the front yard.

#3 If you feed them, they will come.

When I get home, the first thing I do is greet the dog and then we go out to feed the birds in the back and change the water. The doves are waiting there too.

So are the finches.

And this bird which may or may not be an orange-crowned warbler (feel free to correct me as I'm just learning) or maybe a wrentit, waiting in the Japanese maple.

And this bird which may or may not be the same one as above.

And these little guys, Pine Siskins I think. 

Sometimes they get impatient and move very close to the window and then fly away as soon as I open the door.

And some visitors get really impatient and start to make a scene.

#4 Sometimes all you need is a good drink.


or with a friend.

Sometimes you just don't want to swim in the deep end.

But sometimes you just just have to wait in line.

Lines are important because if you're first in line, you get all the good stuff.

But if someone else gets there first you might have to wait.

And sometimes all you can do is climb in and claim the space as your own.

#4 When is a hole not a hole?
Can you see the hole in this dirt? For weeks I kept finding them all over the bare dirt in the yard and couldn't figure out what was going on.

Until I realized that some of the birds preferred dust baths to the water kind.

Every day there I see three or four of them having fun in the dirt.

#5 Sun is good.

At the end of the day I can almost always count on a pair of doves hanging out on these two rocks until the sun goes down.

I get such pleasure out of the antics of these birds, it's no wonder they have found their way into my current WIP.

And I can only imagine how many more interesting creatures we will be able to entice to the yard when, instead of having to feed them seed, we will have a yard full of native plants and flowers that will feed and house them.

(Tags: )
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 21 comments — Leave comment )
May 23rd, 2008 07:57 am (UTC)
Whenever I hear a knocking on the side of the house, I know it's a woodpecker a pecking a hole in the stucco. We look like idiots going outside and yelling at them. They laugh at us, not like a kookaburra, but I know they laugh non the less. I don't enjoy the destruction, but I enjoy seeing the little peckers.

Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and story!
May 23rd, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
I wish I could just leave this tree for them in the front yard, like a snag, but the neighbors are already going to think we are nuts when we take out the lawn.
May 23rd, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC)
Loved all those pictures!
May 23rd, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I wish I could get better ones through the glass but they all fly away.
May 23rd, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
Loved all these birdie pictures! I'm big on bird watching, too -- though now that we live in the woods, squirrels are very problematic.

At our old house, I scattered seed all over the patio, and trained about 50 doves to come every afternoon at 3!
I love that doves mate for life.
May 23rd, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
I think you inspired me to make Fridays my photo blog post day. :-)

The doves are my favorite!
May 23rd, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
Yah! Thanks for sharing your birdie pictures!
May 23rd, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading along!
May 23rd, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
Love the bird pictures! I have a little red crested flinch who pecks at my window everyday. It's kind of fun to be writing and look over and see his little red head looking at me. Though it's probably his own reflection he sees!

My own sun conure is on serious birdy watch. Screaming in the other room at any other birds or wild animals that come into our backyard.
May 23rd, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous birdies! We are missing our birds right now -- due to a SKUNK problem, we are not putting out seed until we can get our porch totally skunk-proofed. We had a horrible problem all winter, as we think a nest of grown females holed up in there. When they spray under your covered porch and you are standing on it, it is STINKY! Even had the neighbours complaining who are in the other half of our semi! So thanks for the 'fix'!
May 23rd, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
Loved this post, with all its pictures and wise words.
May 23rd, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Kelly. I need to figure out how to get better pics through the windows. :-)
May 23rd, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
This is soooo wise and funny, Susan. Thanks...
May 23rd, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks. If I had had more time it would have been more like what I know about writing I learned from birds. Someday.

I think Fridays are going to be a photo blog post day for me. :-)
May 23rd, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
Wow! Those are great pics. I've got mourning doves outside my window too, and I'm about as far from California as I can be. No woodpeckers in NYC though. Thanks for a wonderful posting.
Barbara B
May 25th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
Re: Birds
Thanks for stopping by, Barbara!
May 23rd, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
Hey, I THOUGHT we had a finch of some sort on our deck one day--maybe it was a house finch like yours. It definitely had some pink. My dad used to have a little aviary (SP) attached to the veterinary clinic, and it had lots of finches, but I didn't know if they "grew wild" up here!

We thought we had an oriole, but it turned out to be some kind of grosbeak.

Lots of birds this year, new ones. Not sure what that means about global warming...
May 25th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
I bet you get a lot of great birds/wildlife at your place.

The finches are so colorful. Fun to watch too!

Edited at 2008-05-25 03:40 am (UTC)
May 23rd, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
Great pics, Susan! I looked for some to post with my bird blog today but seem to have deleted them. Next time!

I say you plant a vine to grow up that old tree! Trumpet vine would be good.

Have a great weekend.

May 25th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
Oh the trumpet vines are lovely but not native to California. We'll be strictly native plants (excepyt for the courtyard pots.)

Enjoy your birds too!
May 25th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
I love this - and that tree stump the house finch is perched on has Nixon's profile.
Or should we let the finch know that???
( 21 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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