Showing posts from 2010

Rock Star Birding

From my humble, suburban backyard I get a nightly serenade from a rock star. He's amazing -- colorful, flamboyant, pipes out quite a tune, and keeps me anticipating his next performance. He started showing up at least 5 years ago, probably drawn to the area by the tall palm trees (also fine nesting for the local barn owls from whom I occasionally collect pellets ). Once in a while I spy his mate, much drabber than his schoolbus yellow with inky black throat and black & white streaked back. This hooded oriole pair comes from southern Mexico every spring to set up house. Their nest, not seen by me, is woven suspended from a branch of a palm or other tree somewhere nearby. They glean the trees and bushes for insects and I just saw the male piercing our neighbors passion flowers for nectar. I can only imagine the stir this bird creates among our much more sedate residents. The towhees scuffling on the ground probably hunch a little lower and trill a little softer. "T…

Wisdom Teeth & Fledglings

My youngest fledgling had his wisdom teeth out this morning. He was such a trooper, getting himself up, following doctor's orders to have only apple juice 2 hours before the appointment, and remembering to bring his retainer. So different from his older brother. Now comes the tending with hauling water, juice, soup, yogurt and smoothies to the invalid and watching for signs of trouble.

It reminds me of the California towhee family who just fledged their young outside the boys' window. Days of intense scurrying and scuffling for enough insects to keep the vociferous hatchlings fed. Nights crouched over them, keeping them warm and protected in the smooth, dusty covering of feathered wings and body. The babies took their first flights out of the nest to the ground a week ago. One hid precariously out in the open on a thin branch of feverfew, freezing motionless when I came near. It made it through the week, predated upon by no dog, cat, or raccoon. I saw it yesterday fol…