Sunday, February 8, 2015


Just as the past few weeks have been a time of turbulence, it has also been a time of newness - a new year, a new house, and a new yard. The relocation, while unexpected and abrupt, was very, very welcome, but the transition period has been challenging simply because of the unexpectedness and abruptness. Still, birds have been there through it all.

It was difficult to say goodbye to the backyard birds I'd known so well, in particular the covey of California quail that I've loved seeing grow each year, as well as this year's family of western scrub-jays - quite the quarrelsome group, but all the more engaging because of it. Moving right before the holidays meant added stress and prioritizing what had to get done, what should get done, and what could be done without, and it wasn't until January 1 that the first of the new bird feeders were added to the new yard.

My first guests, the first day they arrived.
The new yard may not look like much for now (an empty palette I am thrilled to be able to remake as a bird-friendly sanctuary and certified wildlife habitat), and it did take a few days for the feeders to be noticed. I'd already noted, of course, that the new neighborhood was better suited to birds - the old, stuffy neighborhood relied far too greatly on chemical assistance for immaculate lawns and precise pruning for showy landscaping, neither of which is bird-friendly - and I eagerly awaited the first visitors. The wait, while agonizing for me, wasn't actually that long, and I'm thrilled to say that house finches were the first visitors to the new house, followed swiftly by dark-eyed juncos, a winter visitor I'm glad to have in greater abundance than ever, since I'd sorely miss them if they weren't in evidence.

In just over a month of tracking the birds in this new backyard, I've welcomed almost all the usual visitors (in order of appearance):
While I haven't yet seen all the visitors I'd like (the quail being the most conspicuous absentees, and American robins overdue for an appearance as well), I'm pleased with this beginning. May it be just the start of a a fantastic flock, one I'm eager to welcome and hope to treasure for years.

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