Life goes on amongst local wildlife
Last updated 2/22/2019 at 4:23pm
Some days I think the animal welfare line starts at my house.
In addition to our pet fur babies that have a jerky treat addiction, we feed our feathered friends in the back yard.
We’ve had bird feeders in our back yard since our Colorado days. Even if the birds aren’t hooked I guess I am. They provide a mostly peaceful distraction through our window at breakfast while the dogs beg for treats.
My breakthrough in backyard feeding took a long time, but now that the honey locust outside the back door has grown up things are looking up. Growing your own tree is a hard way to start though.
Probably the most common bird at our feeders are house finches. Other smaller sized regulars are goldfinches, house sparrows, pine siskins and juncos. We have a continuous parade of doves and I’ve logged every variety available here: mourning, Eurasian collared, white winged and Inca.
Great tailed grackles hang out, squawking at the top of their lungs and at times we’ve had them roosting in the area. Grackles weren’t common when I was growing up in this area and the mourning dove was the only one of that family regularly found here then. Now they are everywhere.
We have Stellar’s blue jays in the back yard regularly and we used to get scrub jays regularly in Colorado as well. They’re noisy like the mockingbirds that call from the power lines in the alley. Neither come to the feeder but enjoy the birdbath. The jays should eat peanuts but I’ve been unsuccessful getting them to take them even though other bird feeders I know get them to pig out on the goobers.
Another bird that likes the birdbath but not the feeder are the robins. Of course they love a wet yard so they can snatch worms and insects from the turf. They’re seasonal and you really do know spring is on the way when they arrive in February.
During the summer we have hummingbirds coming to the backyard feeder and barn swallows swooping gracefully over the lawn catching insects in flight.
It all sounds so peaceful and most of the time it really it is. But where little birds hang out you’re eventually going to get a hungry raptor sticking his beak into the mix.
One fine morning it happened, suddenly alarm erupted at the feeder and a small flock of finches and siskins erupted and half peeled off under the patio awning with a hawk in fast pursuit. A load whack at the window signaled someone had met his fate. The hawk perched on the fence to watch, then circled back under the awning to sit awhile on the chiminea and then the tree where I got his picture.
A short while later as I was filling feeders the little bird that had bashed his brain on the window woke up and flew from the flowerbed. Lucky fellow.
Later I posted a picture of the hawk on a birder page online and world war erupted as the debate raged whether he was a Cooper’s hawk or sharp-shinned.
Eventually things settled down at the feeders and online. Life goes on both places.
Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: