Sunday, May 3, 2009

Birds in the backyard

Eventually I will get back to all things pulp fiction and Westerns; but for right now, I am still hibernating and refueling. I promise to write soon on a very interesting Western history book I'm reading right now.

In the meantime, I've been feeding the birds in the backyard since I moved into this house, and it's starting to evolve into a complete ecological system all on its own. For one thing, a few weeks ago I discovered that some of the finches had nested in an opening into the attic above the kitchen window.

Then came unwelcome visitors: first of all, pigeons. Someone told them of the feast going on every day at the Autry House. Now, I know that pigeons deserve to eat just like all other God's creatures, but just not in my backyard. I guess I'm a pigeon NIMBY. I've spent a lot of energy trying to chase them away to no avail. I finally decided to get finch feeders, including this sock, which will hopefully deter the pigeons away because they can't perch on it.

But yesterday came another visitor, which had ominious tones: a hawk. This was the only photo I could take before he took off - I hope he's decided that he can find better meals somewhere else.

Because there are babies now, including this finch that was resting in the grass tonight at sunset. At first I didn't pay much attention to him, being as there are birds all around the place from sunrise to sunset now, but then I noticed that he was awfully small and wasn't going anywhere when I walked by. I realized that he was very very young and probably was just learning how to fly. So I grabbed my camera and took some pictures, trying to keep an eye on Annie, who was unusually interested in the creature but behaved wonderfully and kept her distance. Annie is a good smart dog - she respects other animals' spaces. I wish she'd respect mine once in a while.

Anyway, the little thing just sat there in the grass, ignorant of the instinct to flee that apparently doesn't surface until he's a little older. He even shut his eyes several times - probably because of the very strong setting sun late in the afternoon.

I was worried about him - for one thing, he was out in the middle of the lawn for all hawks and stray cats to find. Poor little thing - exposed to all kinds of dangers from almost day one. The only thing that was a comfort was knowing that he was probably blissfully unaware of all the predators that surround him. But he'll find out soon enough.

I tried to keep an eye on him as I worked from the kitchen sink, and made the dogs come in. As soon as I was in the house, the birds descended on the bird feeders and onto the lawn. When I went back outside a few minutes later, he was gone. The hawk had not reappeared, so I'm thinking that his parents came back and gave him a quick, intensive flight training program.


Kris said...

I love these pictures! Has the hawk come back, or the baby?

Laurie Powers said...

Hi Kris - haven't seen either of them so far - there are so many birds in my back yard now tho, it's kind of hard to pick out the little one. I'm glad I haven't seen the hawk, obviously.

Lana Gramlich said...

The thing about nature is that you can't pick & choose like you can at the grocery store, y'know? Nature is red in tooth & claw. Sure, I may kvetch about the squirrels (& on occasion we may have ourselves a little squirrel stew,) but I no longer worry about them. I've never minded hawks, or finding the evidence of one of their "hits" in our yard. If we're going to feed the birds, that which feeds on the birds will come, too. We also feed raccoons & possums & although it doesn't happen in front of our eyes, I'm sure they raid local nests for supplemental nutrition now & again. It's just nature, which has been doing its thing far too long for me to worry about what's "bad" or "good" about it. These are mere human constructions with no basis in reality. Nature just is.