Thursday, November 16, 2006

Back To Bird Feeding!

I just noticed the date on my last blog ... yikes, it was almost 6 months ago. I can't believe I've haven't posted in 6 months! But I suppose it is an example of how obligations and commitments to important projects can get completely out-of-hand and impact the bird watching lifestyle I prefer. Lately I've been paying attention to that "empty" feeling I've noticed lately. It finally dawned on me as I trudged along taking care of pressing projects that I was feeling out-of-sorts because I haven't been spending any time enjoying what I love most in life ... birds and the natural world. So, even though my projects are still needing my attention I'm going to find the time to enjoy my passion and post to my blog, too.

To be truthful, I've haven't even been a devoted backyard bird feeder lately ... and it really hurts to admit that. There has just been too much to do and so I couldn't keep the bird feeders cleaned and filled. I guess the only feathered friends that could really count on me this past summer were the hummingbirds that are here year-round. I did manage to keep them happy. I know that the birds don't rely on getting all they need from bird feeders and that helps me feel slightly better. But honestly, my guilt level is pretty high at the moment. So I hauled all the feeders out of storage and they are being rehung. Unfortunately, I'm not getting them up fast enough to participate in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Project Feeder Watch ... their annual wintertime wild bird feeding project. So I'll just have to be content with my intention to register for it next winter.

Even without the bird feeders we had feathered visitors all year. That is typical here in the San Diego area. BTW, I encourage you to visit San Diego if you like to bird watch beyond your own locality. You won't be disappointed.
One special experience this past spring was during an extremely hot period. We had a broken sprinkler and after it was fixed the system was turned on to make sure everything was working okay. Shortly after the sprinklers came on an adult male Cooper's Hawk swooped down into the spray and had himself a good soak ... flapping wings as he jumped and danced in the spray. I ran for my camera and warily made my way back as close as I could to the hawk. Surprisingly when I got back with the camera another hawk (that I assume was his mate since a pair of Cooper's had been nesting nearby) had joined him and they were both having a great time in the cool water. I was transfixed watching the amazing display and by the time I got ready to take a picture I discovered the camera batteries were dead. So I quietly retreated to the house for another camera and loaded new batteries to be safe. By the time I returned to my hiding place the active bathing was over and the female had flown to a nearby palm tree. I tried to get a good shot of the male who, by now, was just standing in the spray. I snapped a couple of shots and then he flew away to join his mate. Before I turned around to leave another hawk flew down to get his share of the cool water. Again I took pictures, but they were disappointing, too (as you can see by the photo above). However, it does show an immature Cooper's Hawk. My guess is that this youngster was this year's offspring of the pair bathing earlier.

Shortly after the hawk experience a close relative (and bird watching buddy) had emergency health problems which led to very serious surgery. Helping him recover ... and those projects I mentioned meant no more bird watching for me ... until now. I'm thrilled to be back!

Look for links to some wildlife cams in my next post.

Learn more about
bird watching and backyard bird feeding.