Spring, TX Level 1
Hi, this is Kitty from the mountains and vast wilderness of Mendocino County, California. I have a Host Group called For the Birds which has a lovely internationsl membership sharing birding hot spots and news from all over.
We are lifelong birding enthusiasts, love observing wildlife of all kinds, and have traveled all over with our binoculars, cameras and scopes. I'd love to bring this sharing topic to our new forum, making a place where we can continue to chat about wildlife and wilderness, birds, bears, etc, that are where we all live and host.
For example, there are massive migrations of birds now in our region, and whales off our coast. Our oak trees have shed a bumper crop of huge acorns, which feed everyone who lives in these mountains and forests. How terrific is that?
Please join me in sharing what natural wonders are where you live and host!
Congratulations, and good work! You've found a sweet place to be, with such variety of habitats for both you and the wildlife.
I love that the magpies scold the cats. Domestic cats, both pets and feral, are a major cause of songbird deaths, worldwide. It is just the nature of cats to hunt. Our Stellar's Jays watch over the whole area, and they gang up on predators. They have a special call that they make in unison, which sounds exactly like "cat!cat!cat!" They keep it up until the predator leaves. Our trail cameras in the forest show us the same behavior, especially with the bobcats passing through. Those Jays don't miss a thing!
A wonderful weekend to you!
I don’t post much these days and got my post swallowed for not signing in first. 🥲
I’m happy here and close to my roots (not geographically as my family home is about 2000 km away, but I found something similar). Lots of nature around plus the ocean and a river estuary, which is a bird paradise.
I put water on the table since the drought this summer and the birds come for a drink. More for convenience now, as there is frequent rain or at least a drizzle over night.
they don’t bathe in it though. I believe they all fly to the river to bathe. It follows the tides, flood will come in and fill it, but at low tide it’s sweet water, low water level and sand banks for convenient bathing. Birds, dogs and some kids use the spots, even in the town center.
the climate is mild, we have a microclimate where it rarely freezes and palm trees grow in town.
i did not spot a fox yet, the strii of forest would be too small for them. But there are many cats around, that people feed. I don’t, but they catch mice in my garden as well. So far no birds - the magpies scold them when they cross through, may even hop close and seem to tell them a lot of insults, what the cats ignore. But it warns the smaller birds.
Such a pleasure to reconnect with you, @Helga0 ! Your news is terrific, and it's wonderful that you are loving your new home. I can imagine a less hectic less urban lifestyle, and the small forest is a terrific habitat. You've so many birds, such variety - how fun! Magpies are characters, smart, like the Jays, and beautifully feathered. Jays here are sociable, noisy people, they do not miss a thing that is happening, and usually offer commentary. Our hummingbirds are nervous this morning, that usually indicates a change in weather, we'll see!
What will your winter be like? Are you keeping water bowls for birds' drinking and bathing in your garden?
Our foxes take advantage of the water bowls, they leap up like cats to get a drink. They also hunt mice in the garden, we don't mind a bit, of course.
Do stay in touch, it is such a pleasure. And I hope @Deb0 checks in with us. She is about 25 miles from me, as the Ravens fly, but in a different climate altogether.
That’s nice, @Kitty-and-Creek0 to read your new post on that old thread hand to know that you still enjoy your birds!
I moved from Paris to Brittany last year and took half of my garden with me. The trees had grown since 2015, but were still in flower pots. They are enjoying their liberation here, growing in the garden and in front of the house. I still hang bird food balls on the branches, so the parrot gets local bird company. I put a bowl on the terrace table with the rests of the parrot food, as he leaves over about half of it. I break up some nuts in the morning too.
The food attracted first the smaller birds, sparrows, the tiny ones that get censored here and a local kind of redbreasted birds, a bit bigger than the sparrows and round. The locals see them as bringing luck. I see them as funny as they hop around so fast, that it’s hard to take a picture.
After a while I saw magpies. They are so big, that they have to ponder their approach, not to miss the table or get caught between chair legs. They are really pretty here, with long blue or green tails. They hunt for snails in the garden too.
I worried first that they would frighten the parrot, but he understands that they cannot come in.
The next guests were pigeons, light grey ring necked birds. I drew the line at two, moving inside as soon as there were more of them. They got that quickly, it’s only one couple of regulars now.
And jays. There is a small forest, so I see forest birds now and then. The jays come on rainy days, when the grains in the bowl are soaked.
When a neighbor runs to his car, or someone approaches the house abruptly, a flock of birds may fly off, startling newcomers.
During the summer, I had airbnb guests. Some counted birds from their windows in the morning and announced the daily score at breakfast. People having lunch or dinner outside would arrange the bird food carefully on a pillar two steps farther , so everyone could eat at the same time.
Good Autumn to you all! I'm delighted that this thread showed up for me in my notifications. I hope that others will join in and continue the topic.
Our gardens and forests are filled with color, and migrating birds are joining the residents. Our winter residents are arriving, so it is a time of surprises. We've a flock of native wild Band Tailed Pigeons who find the tallest sunniest trees every morning to warm up. Not those dirty pigeons! They are really lovely birds and really careful, as they are food for Peregrine Falcons and Coopers Hawks. Our trail cameras show the Mountain Quail - very shy birds - have fully grown young, and have not lost any to predators. The wild Turkeys are stopping traffic on our back road, flocks of up to a dozen of these big birds. The thrushes are more visible these days, the warblers and towhees as well. The Stellar's Jays drop by for conversation, and the Ravens are doing their aerial acrobatics in the seasonal breezes. Hummingbirds are still keeping us busy every day cleaning and filling their feeders. We're looking amongst the flock for Calliope and Rufous migrants. So far none, but they'll show up for us if we are looking. The resident Anna's Hummingbirds are tough and the cold nights have not dimmed their enthusiasm for this home turf. I've seen the local Peregrine Falcons flying by the house occasionally as this is a huge and abundant hunting ground for them. It is a thrill to see them fly by. Our local Pileated Woodpeckers are a joy, both to see and hear them. It is a big year for acorns and the Acorn Woodpeckers are very busy. Acorns are the basis of the food chain here, so our forest mammals will be well fed this year. Our trail cameras are showing us fat bears, well fed deer, foxes, skunks, lions, bobcats, and those busy squirrels.
We are welcoming the rain that is coming...
If anyone wants to join with me in this conversation - welcome! Please!
It is the end of December and most of our Anna's Hummingbirds are still with us. They are slightly irritated by rain, snow and freezing temperatures, but are not going anywhere!
We are also enjoying the Varied Thrushes in the garden, with their magnificant colors and markings.
@Deb0 What is in your garden right now?
By the Way:
There is an American Bittern at the Ukiah WasteWaterTreatmentPlant. It is in the grass at the NE corner of the North pond alongside an immature Black-crowned Night Heron.
Have a wonderful time in Paris for me, OK? Someone has to stay home and host, that one is me!
Looking forward to hearing all about it1
I thought about that, when I realized that the **bleep** came all Summer to eat the food they had not taken all winter. I thought about removing it not to disturb their habits but then they came with their young, which was very charming. When the food was finished and they still came, I hunted for new food (not that easy in Summer) and provided some nuts in the meantime. They love nuts best. Felt a bit foolish to host in a shared space to be able to buy expensive nuts for the **bleep**...
But we have about a dozen now, 3 families I think, and all the neighbors love them. Cat-resistant too.
I'll just have to keep hosting and buying nuts 😉
@Kitty-and-Creek0, I like your topic, so I'll tell you about my birding spots.
I host in the middle of Paris, outside is a very busy roundpoint, the noise of a big city. We are at the end of an alley, surrounded by high buildings, restricted access, and my tiny atelier is in the courtyard far inside that wall of buildings. Completely quiet. Over the years we started a garden and I have now high bushes, nearly trees, in huge flower pots. There are a lot of cats aroung, but they are getting old and lazy. I hang grease balls and nets with nuts on the trees and the wild birds come to feed: sparrows, **bleep**, finches. The blackbirds eat the red berries from a bush we planted for them.
Inside, I have a parrot, who is free and usually sits on his inside tree or a window grip and chats with the **bleep**.
I had breakfast with a guest on the kitchen counter and the parrot was watching her and whistling from the door to my room. Then two **bleep** came and hopped onto a branch just outside the kitchen window, where there was no food, but they are curious and watched us. I told to the girl " Look up quietly, don't move much." She saw the tiny birds, about a foot away from her shoulder, and asked "Are they yours too?"
- "Ummm, no, those are wild birds, they just come."
- When you show real wildlife to your guests, do you experience that too, that some people never saw any wild birds before?
I love your story! We are now in the wilderness, but when we lived in cities we always had birds come to visit. They always felt safe and welcome with us. Airbnbirds!
To answer your question : Definitely! And they love it!
For example, many of our guests are delighted to experience being face to face with the hummingbirds at the feeders. Hummingbirds are only found in the Americas, and our guests are from all over. Many guests from the Americas see a few hummingbirds around their place, but never the great numbers we have here. Next to the house is a large tree which is filled with their nests. We put out an average of a gallon a day of nectar mix, that is 4 feeders refilled daily. Some of them spend the winter with us, most migrate. The majority of them leave late Fall, and now in November they are still with us, as weather has not changed significantly. They have a large need for protein from small insects, and when the insects are no longer around, most of the hummers leave for warmer climates. Mid March the mob re-appears and nesting begins. Much of the year our porch is like a busy airport at rush hour with hummingbirds.
We have wintering birds too, and all year ones as well. Just today I saw band tailed pigeons, a varied thrush, rufous sided towhees, bewicks wren, hermit thrush, stellars jays, scrub jay, ravens, nuthatch, chickadee, juncos, grouse, and others. On the nearby Coast, whales are migrating as are flocks of sea birds. This is causing a flap and a flutter in excited birdwatchers. Most people have seen the pigeons that live in the cities, but never the beautiful wild ones.
We have several brush rabbits in the garden, chipmunks, squirrels, foxes, and nearby can be seen wild turkeys, lots of deer, jackrabbits, and whatever can be glimpsed crossing the roads. It is fun for us, and definitely for our visitors to experience our wildlife neighbors.
Great info on hummingbirds. Thanks @Kitty-and-Creek0! We started a hummingbird feeder on the Mendocino Coast last Spring and love watching them at the feeder. We just added another but it is yet to be discovered by the hummers. Might need to move it. Have had a few interesting conversations with friends regarding the ethics of a hummingbird feeder. Some feel it disturbs the migration instincts. Others say just make sure it is full all winter as the birds who don't migrate become dependent upon it. Do you have an opinion on this?
I love to use the slow motion video on my iphone at the hummingbird feeder. They are amazing!
Great points. The feeders must be terribly clean, or they will grow molds that will kill the birds in that sugar solution, so do not keep much in an unused feeder, and make sure to dump it out and scrub with a brush and vinegar every few days in colder weather, more often in warmer. They trust us to keep them healthy. The mold will rot their beaks, and thus make them very miserable in the process of slowly killing them.
Most hummingbirds will migrate, simply because they require a lot of protein in the form of tiny insects, and the colder weather eliminates that food source. We always have a few Anna's Hummingbirds that remain with us all winter. They are hardy and will go into torpor when it is too cold for them. We leave a couple inches of nectar in the feeder for them, as they do need that energy, and our weather fluctuates so wildly here ~ making sure to scrub and change the food regularly.
So glad to hear that you are using the slo-mo camera on the birds. Isn't it fascinating to slow them down?
So glad to stay in touch with you this way!