This morning, the weather was so beautiful and the temperatures were 77ºF (25ºC). After Katelynn and Sara were on their way to school, I got dressed and packed my backpack for a small hike at the Shoreline Trail. When I arrived, a Painted Bunting welcomed me at the trail head. It sang a beautiful song to its mate. It was humid. But taking a short break in the shade and the wind blowing, helped a lot. The Prairie looked so beautiful. Butterflies and other insects got attracted by the thistles, prairie coneflower, bee balm, and many more blooms. I watched many more wildlife along the trail, before I hiked back to the car. It felt good visiting the Shoreline Trail. I have to do this more often, again.
This afternoon, I’ve noticed a new visitor on our bird feeder. A little White-throated Sparrow came over for a little snack, before it flew into a neighboring tree. At least, it sat at the dish long enough for me to capture photo of it. Maybe it will come back soon, so I can get a better photo of this little bird. Bring some friends with you, little guy.
A few years back one afternoon Sara played in the sandbox, while I took care of some chores in the house. About 10 minutes later, Sara comes into the house: “Mom, there is a green bird in the tree!” “A green bird? Are you sure, it’s a green bird?” The only green bird I could think off was a hummingbird. “Maybe it is a bird with a different color. And the leaves of the tree make it appear to be green?” “No, Mom! It’s green … like a parrot!” she insisted. I went outside and looked towards the tree. And sure enough, there sat a African Ringneck Parrot on a branch.
First, I got my camera and captured some pictures, so I could post them to a local online lost pet page, in hope the bird belongs to a close neighbor. And then I called the local shelter for help to get the parrot securely out of my tree. About 45 minutes later, the officer showed up with a net and a cage. Unfortunately, we’ve dealt with a very smart (maybe not so smart) bird, which flew to a higher branch. After standing there for another 15-20 minutes, the officer told me to call him, when the bird comes back down to feed on the bird feeder. In the meantime, I’ve got some advice from my neighbors online. I sat out a bowl with some fresh spinach leaves, some freshly cut up apple slices, and some peanuts. The waiting game began. A Red-winged Blackbirds got curious about the fresh apple slices. And this little parrot was watching everything from a safe distance.
Over the next several weeks, we still couldn’t catch the parrot. But we made sure, it was well fed with seeds, fruits and vegetables. We even gave it a name: Sydney. Sydney had his little territory around our house. Usually, he flew like three houses down each direction. And when we called him, he came over for food and water. He is a very smart bird by speaking fluent languages of wild birds and cat. When one of our cats came into the yard, he warned the other birds: “Meow-Meow!” 😀
One day after he visited us daily for over four months, Sydney didn’t come around anymore. We were wondering what happened to him. It took us almost another year to find out. Katelynn and Sara played with a couple of their friend’s parrots down the street. When the girls came home, Katelynn said: “I think, I have seen Sydney. But I’m not sure.” The girls and I walked down to their friend’s house. And sure enough, Sydney sat in a cage with another parrot. The friend’s grandma said, she saw a parrot flying around. Her other bird’s wings are too short and therefore it can not fly. So she could keep the cage door open. One morning, she had two parrots sitting in the cage. I told her our story, how we found “Sydney”. She said, unfortunately she couldn’t find the owner either. My heart was sad a little bit. Because Sydney was free at my house, and now he’s caged. He might have not survived very long. But he seemed so happy, when he was free. 😦 At least I found the answer, where he ended up that Summer in 2015.
There is some love, and also some fighting over mating rights and ‘when?’, ‘where?’, ‘how?, going on my backyard. Mr. Cardinal sings the most wonderful songs to his Love, and even Mr. Blue Jay is not screaming so loud as usual and rather helps Mrs. Blue Jay with the perfect nesting spot high in the tree. But while Ms. Mockingbird enjoys, that two males are arguing and literally fighting over her in my trees and on my roof most of the time, she still can’t decide which ‘guy’ she wants to partner up with this season.
On the other end of my yard sits Mrs. White-winged Dove and coos to her mate from the gazebo frame: “Would you just quit the talking and get this whole mating thing started, so I still can tell Elvira (must be her friend) the newest gossip from the alley, today!!!”
I guess, these two ladies have their own struggles with their men in Spring. I hope, I’ll see some nests with some cute little mockingbird chicks and white-winged dove chicks, soon. 😉
UPDATE: In Spring, weeks after I wrote this blog on “A Garden Full of Memories”, both ladies built a nest and raised their chicks in my yard. Here are photos of their nests in 2015:
This morning, it was a little bit frosty. Thank goodness, Kevin brought our Meyer Lemon tree in. And I covered my tomatoes and peppers outside, last night. Once it hit 60ºF (16ºC), I uncovered the ‘maters and peppers to let the direct sun shine on them, around noon. While I was watering the beds I’ve noticed, a couple of Brown-headed Cowbirds sat in our tree. One was snoozing in the sun, while the other one had an watchful eye on me. Once I was done watering the plants in the greenhouse and closed the faucet, a little Dark-eyed Junco sat on my chicken fence and looked for food. I said to the bird I would get some, a little bit later. The feeder was just filled up, yesterday afternoon. But the grackles and cowbirds were hungry and came as a whole flock for dinner. I guess, I have to get more bird food ready and fill the feeder again.
This morning when it began to sleet, we’ve got a new visitor in our yard. A little Yellow-bellied sapsucker came over and knocked some holes in our Bradford Pear trees. The little guy used the tree as a protection from the ice rain. Once it stopped sleeting, the bird decided to fly into the neighbor’s tree. A little bit later, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet showed up to inspect the holes for some food. I guess, the Sapsucker and the Kinglet have a perfect food relationship. One does the hard work to get past the bark; eats until it is not hungry anymore. And the other one takes the rest, so the food source won’t go to waste. On top of that, they are a nice tree pest control.
Today, a whole continent celebrates Australia Day. It marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip, in 1788.
Happy Australia Day!
This morning was a lot of commotion in my yard. I refilled the feeder. And I added some raw peanuts to the mix. The Blue Jays went literally nuts over them. When one Blue filled its beak and flew off, the next Blue Jay came and filled its beak as much it could fit in there. About four jays showed up to get peanuts. It looked kinda amusing, watching the birds being so greedy. I had to get my camera and capture some photos of one of the Blue Jays.
This morning, I watched Mr. Squirrel climb down the tree. He sat on top of his empty critter feeder, kept his tail close to his body and tried to warm up in the Sun. He was debating, if he goes down to the food dish or stays to enjoy the sun rays a little bit longer. In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal had a breakfast of peanut butter rolled in bird seeds with their friends, the House Sparrow and Gold Finch. A Mourning Dove sat on a tree branch and watched the critter and the songbirds from the distance. Later, a White-winged Dove joint the other dove in the tree. Both looked like puffed up balls in this cold weather. Each animal has it’s own way to stay warm, when it was only 14ºF this morning. One used it’s tail and the rays of the sun; some ate a warming meal of fatty peanut butter and seeds; and a couple more birds used their feathers to make air pockets. They know how to survive what Mother Nature throws at them.