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