Sunday, April 13, 2008

Endangered Species

This blog will be an endangered species for some time to come, as other life matters intrude on my love of backyard birding. Nonetheless, I still plan on progressing with the work to create a bird sanctuary, however slowly.

I have continued to build a brush pile to provide interim shelter and safety to winged visitors, gleaning a wide variety of sticks and scraps from other people's spring prunings. Thus far, some birds have visited the brush pile, even seeking it out to hunt for insects. The other landscaping work, however, is seeing less progress as the estimates came in too far above budget to be accepted comfortably. Instead, we plan on doing much of the preliminary work ourselves in preparation for professional labor in about a year. This will also give us more time to plan the layout for the feeder island and specific plantings we are interested in, and it's better to take it slow and do it properly than to rush and be unhappy.

As spring progresses, more species have reappeared. The mourning doves have returned, and the first California quail was pecking about on the patio recently, eagerly searching for scattered seeds. The quail are most amusing to watch, with their butterball physique, skittish mannerisms, and perfectly straight running tracks when spooked. There are quite a few quail in the neighborhood, and hopefully more of them will be visiting soon. They enjoy scratching in the mulch for different seeds, and I'm happy to spread more to give them their favorite treats. The western scrub jays are still absent, but I have spotted them out in the neighborhood recently and in another week or two I'll put out the peanuts in the shell they love so much to hoard (I found four recently while working in the flower beds), so hopefully they'll be happy to return as well.

It is ironic that just as there is more to write about with regards to backyard birding, there is less time to craft the words. Much better to be out and enjoying the visitors while making their stay more pleasant, but updates will come when they are able. We all need to spread our wings, shake our feathers from the winter laziness, and take flight into spring!

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