Osprey, Mono Lake © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, April 4, 2016


My wife wasn't that keen on me getting bird feeders. She already has a very nutty bird in mad love with the mirror on her car, which spends its idle time in our carport. Birds can be messy and it is expensive to continually refill the feeders, etcetera.

Leslie has been on a trip to Northern California visiting girlfriends and trusting in the age old maxim that it is always easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I broke the news about my recent Amazon purchase of a new feeder on the phone.

She never stays mad long anyway.

It is common to think of birdwatchers as strangely garbed and obsessed introverts in their dotage and I may be guilty on all counts. I confess to knowing next to nothing about the flying creatures but after thirty six years of living with them at the ranch, think that it is about time I learned their names and something about their habits. 

My first feeder was a cheap and pretty unsightly affair that I got at Joe's.

I filled it with a prehulled economy mix that was supposed to attract finches.

It took a few days for the birds to go near the thing but now the house finches are pretty steady customers.

The second feeder was a combination type contraption with three hooks, a water pan and a suet feeder.

It is only a bit better than the first one. The birds won't go near it. Takes a while to make nice with the ungainly beast I suppose.

I am tempted to have a welder make me up a custom one.

I got a thistle feeder from Droll Yankees for this one which I filled with nyjer and bought a seed bell and some suet to boot.

We should be knocking them dead like avian catnip but so far it is a no go.

I love nothing better than to pull a chair up in the shade and watch the birds do their thing for an hour or so, snapping off a pic or two in the interim.

I would like to find an old birdbath, the kind with the round pebbles pressed into the surface.

White crowned sparrows perform regular clean up duty under the feeder.

There are some very macho birds at my place and a real pecking order. All of the birds are pretty tough, well except the doves, as one would expect. The scrub jays brook little crap, nor do the ever present mockingbirds.

The so very intelligent crows sail by fairly carelessly. The pesty kingbirds like to tussle on the top of the tall redwoods.

I had a pair of hooded orioles on the tree Saturday. These warblers have a beautiful call, seemingly in two octaves simultaneously, an interesting bottom range.

I am hoping to attract some more exotic guests but am content to watch the behavior of the permanent local residents.

The magnificent red tails are sure to make their sweep every afternoon.

I love them all. Even the starlings, dissed, unloved and unwanted, are in reality lovely creatures.

I may try black sunflower seeds as well. I think that they might be the most economical.

The hummers are positively gaga for the Hong Kong orchid tree. Sometimes you can hear their presence by a strange clicking sound. We have several species here on the ranch.

As has been noted everywhere, hummingbirds are incredibly fast and nimble, yet their agility pales net to a dragonfly, not that they ever complain or feel slighted by the comparison.

The thing I like most about birding is that you are allowed entrance to an auditory and behavioral universe that is ever present, but is largely tuned out. You have to watch and listen. And there is certainly a lot to learn and take in.

Expect more pictures.


Sanoguy said...

All nice ....... All you need is a BH, BH!

Anonymous said...

rats love bird feeders.

J.W. said...

Really enjoyable, Robert!...Toni