Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: The birds are still here

One of my biggest concerns about taking down the dying mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) was that its removal would impact the bird activity in my back garden.  The mimosa was bare for a good portion of the year but it was nonetheless the favorite perch for every avian visitor.  Situated in between the feeders and the fountain, it provided a handy way-station.  I shifted the backyard feeders a few feet after the mimosa came out, hoping that the small birds would seek cover in either the nearby strawberry tree (Arbutus 'Marina') or the tree-like Leucadendron 'Pisa' just outside my home office window.  As it turned out, bird activity is, if anything, greater than it was before.  The small birds appear perfectly happy to use both the strawberry tree and the Leucadendron to provide safe perches.


Leucadendron 'Pisa' is on the left and Arbutus 'Marina' is on the right, several feet behind the feeders.  There's a second, larger Arbutus behind the first tree.

Last week we had white-crowned sparrows too but this week it's mainly house finches and lesser goldfinches.  In less than a week, they manage to empty all three of these feeders and most of the three feeders in the front garden.

The mimosa's removal hasn't seemed to have affected the birds' use of the fountain for baths either.

Again, the visitors this week were mainly finches

The seashells in the fountain's top tier give them a place to perch as they splash about

The raccoons rearrange the shells every few days during their nightly visits

The tree removal may have impacted the larger birds like the scrub jays and hawks somewhat more than the small birds.  The jays still visit the feeders occasionally, scattering the smaller birds when they arrive, but their visits have been less frequent since the mimosa's removal.  I've yet to see jays, crows or hawks perching in the smaller Arbutus or Leucadendron as they formerly did in the mimosa either.  The hawks haven't entirely disappeared, however.

The hawks that regularly visited the mimosa tree now must content themselves with the tall pine tree in the neighbor's garden behind us

Last week I saw one hawk swoop through our garden just over the roof line but generally they're sticking to the pine tree

I caught this one taking flight after scanning the horizon for a good 15 minutes

I can't state definitively whether this is a Cooper's hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk but the rounded tail shape visible in this photo suggests the former

It's been a very tough year on a lot of fronts and there are more challenges on the horizon before this dreadful year comes to a close.  However, on the cusp of our unusual Thanksgiving holiday this year, I can still say I'm thankful for things both big and small, like the company of birds in my garden.  I hope you have things to be thankful for as well.  Have a happy - and safe - Thanksgiving.

For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. So glad to hear that your fears were unfounded and that the birds found new places to perch. You have a wonderful - and I'm sure endlessly entertaining - multitude of birds frequenting both feeders and fountain. Your hawk photos are fabulous! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Kris!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anna. Bird chatter always provides a cheerful note to the garden, regardless of my mood.

      Delete
  2. Love your bird shots.
    Have a great holiday weekend Kris. Stay safe.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pool Party! :D Hunger will make birds very adaptable. Probably better without a perch for hawks close to feeders, one silver lining to losing the Albizia. We set out our feeders this week and the feeding frenzy is incredible. They empty all the feeders within a day! Once my neighbors hang feeders things will slow down a bit (because of bears we don't leave them out all night until early Dec.).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And to think here we worry about squirrels getting to the feeders, Eliza ;) Actually, with the mimosa gone, the squirrels currently seem to be having difficulty getting to the feeders, which is a plus. But, knowing squirrels, they'll figure something out...

      Delete
  4. So many beautiful avian visitors. That's sweet of you to provide for them appreciate them. Obviously they're very happy in your garden, no matter what. Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving to you too, Beth!

      Delete
  5. Happy Thanksgiving, Kris! You've set up a festive Bed and Breakfast for the birds. How could they not be enticed to stay! Love the photos of the finches at the fountain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And they have a view of the harbor too! Thanks Susie. Best wishes for a lovely holiday.

      Delete
  6. Lovey bird shots. The hawk is awe inspiring, but the little birds are the ones that truly make me happy! We all have a lot to be thankful for, despite the year we had... Happy Thanksgiving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, hawks are dramatic but can also be more than a little intimidating with the intensity of their stares, The finches and other smaller birds are much more cheerful. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

      Delete
  7. So glad your worries aren't coming to be. Yesterday I stopped by a local nursery and found myself staring at a shelf of plants, trying to decide if I really needed another Leucothoe (I didn't) when a hummingbird zoomed right up and started working the feeder that was hanging about 6" from my face. I hadn't even noticed it was there (the feeder). I guess either I didn't register on the bird's radar, since I was standing still, or he just didn't care since people pass through all the time. It was quite remarkable to be so close while the little guy fed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe the hummingbird has gotten used to people standing next to "his" feeder - or maybe he's fearless! I can imagine you being so intent on a plant that you missed what was right next to you. A hummer's buzz is impossible to miss, though ;)

      Delete
  8. Birds adapt. Cool hawk shots.

    Your 'Pisa' is ever more fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I briefly considered putting another 'Pisa' in as a substitute for the mimosa tree before fixating on a Gingko. I finally got my dear husband to agree but, as the plants lose their leaves this time of year, it doesn't seem that I'm going to be able to get hold of one until early next year.

      Delete
  9. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving Kris. I love seeing your birds since I have only been in CA a few short times. I know this isn't a Cooper's Hawk. I believe it is a Harlan's (?) Red-tailed Hawk. A dark morph of a Red-tailed. Magnificent bird. It would definitely make a snack out of any of the birds that comes to your feeder. They are lucky to have all the trees, shrubs etc in your beautiful garden for safety. The poor Red-tail needs to make a living too tho. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Red-tailed and Cooper's hawks are the most common here but I didn't see the tell-tale tail. You're probably right, Lisa. The breast color looked darker than that of a Cooper's hawk.

      Delete
  10. Great pictures, Kris. Isn't it wonderful how adaptable birds are? I don't have a ginkgo but love them. I do remember that the females are quite messy dropping fruit and I think I remember that the fruit is not a pleasant smell. I bet you've scoped that all out, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it sounds like I definitely want a male Gingko tree. Now, just to find one...

      Delete
  11. So many birds at the fountain! They obviously love it.

    There's still a lot of cover near your feeders even with the mimosa gone. It looks like a perfect setup for small birds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some birds are more tolerant of crowds than others, sweetbay. The finches all seem to get along but our scrub jays insist on bathing alone!

      Delete
  12. Ginkgo! Can't wait for your pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may be awhile yet before the Gingko arrives, Diana. Apparently most local sellers don't have the trees in stock this time of year because the growers don't like to ship them in their bare state.

      Delete
  13. I'm noticing the birds now going straight into the acacia now that the cypresses are gone -- they are resilient! And I think my little bird bath is getting some action in the front garden too. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving and thank you so much for the card!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad your birds adapted to the loss of the cypress trees so quickly, Denise - I hope you have as well! The bigger birds were more clearly impacted than the little ones here. The latter seem happy with the new set-up. I was about to say that the squirrels had given up on the feeders in their new location - then I looked out the window to see that one has mastered a new gymnastics routine ;(

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions!