Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wildlife Sanctuary????

I'm thinking we might need to apply for wildlife sanctuary status in our backyard. Our yard is tiny, hardly more than a glorified patio with some scraggly trees and bushes and a lot of dog poop. But for whatever reason, the birds seem to love us.

Last year we had a hummingbird build a nest on top of one of our wind chimes (We've got Babies!). Mama hummingbird came back again this year and built another nest which resulted in at least one fledgling hummingbird on our patio.

Fledgling Hummingbird on our Patio

Additionally, Brian has spied an egret, or was it a heron?, in our backyard possibly going after the fish in our little pond/fountainy thing. Either way, it had a big enough wingspan that when it flew away its wings dominated the yard. Today Brian spotted either a falcon or a hawk in the yard (apparently I need to invest in a birding book!). We also have kites that like to nest in the trees near us.

On the protected hill just behind our home we have cows (they're there to eat the non-native grasses so that the endangered Bay Checkerspot Butterfly will have their native grasses returned to them for their habitat). Brian has also spotted a coyote or two and I've spent many an early morning listening to their howls passing from one coyote to another (it always reminds me of the dogs transmitting messages in Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians). We have jack rabbits on the hill and turkey vultures soaring overhead, too.

Now we have a new addition that actually is in our backyard. A robin built a nest in one of the scraggly trees about 5.5 feet off the ground. Inside are 4 bright blue eggs.

Eggs in the Nest

Mama-Robin-To-Be flies away every time I try to take her picture. I waited outside quietly for all of about 10 minutes hoping she would return, but I quickly realized I do not have the patience to be a wildlife photographer. Finally, once night arrived, I was able to go outside and snap a few shots. I was aiming in the dark but I think I did OK. I don't know if I woke poor Mama up or if she was blinded by the flash or if Mama sleeps with her eyes open, but she didn't fly away.

Mama Robin Protects her Eggs

So while our backyard isn't the most exciting place and doesn't have much in the way of kid friendly space, it does offer an amazing amount of wildlife diversity in an suburban setting on the edge of the country. I can't wait to see what develops next.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! The upside of your little yard is that you can actually *see* your wildlife. I love the color of your robins eggs! (Are the all hatched by now??) We have a phoebe nesting under the eves of our garage (they build mud nests, like swallows, I learned) and we had a chickadee nesting in a vent hole, but we didn't get to see any of their babies. Not sure the phoebes have hatched yet, actually. I bought a bird feeder recently. That's been fun! Now we have a bunch of finches and more chickidees. We also have a mourning dove that comes every year and tries in vain to nest under the roof of our porch. There's not enough space. It always fails...and always comes back anyway!