Sunday, June 1, 2008


Birds visiting my mother’s farm (in her own words):

Killdeer – stays the summer in the pasture
Bobwhite – year round
Scaled Quail – year round
Great Horned Owl – year round, catches all the mice
Long Eared Owl – year round, catches all the mice
Snowy Owl – passes thru
Red Tailed Hawk – year round, catches rabbits & ground squirrels & mice
American Kestrel – year round
Mourning Dove – year round
Ringed Turtle Dove – year round
Barn Swallow – stay thru summer, catches all insects
Common Red Shafted Flicker – passes thru, eats ants
Common Yellow Shafted Flicker – passes thru, eats ants
Red Naped Sapsucker – passes thru
Calliope Hummingbird – stays the summer
American Gold Finch – passes thru
Yellow-Rumped Warbler – passes thru
Hermit Warbler – passes thru
Kingbird – stays the summer
Meadow Lark – stays the summer
Fly Catcher – stays all summer
Scots Oriole – passing thru
Rufus-Sided Towhee – spending the summer
Black-headed Grosbeak – passing thru
Robin – all year, takes all the worms out of my garden
Hooded Oriole – passing thru
Northern Bullock’s Oriole – passing thru
Western Tanager – passing thru
House Finch – all year
Purple Finch – all year
Some Wrens – passing thru
Mocking Bird – all summer
Red-winged Blackbird – passing thru
All kinds of Sparrows – year round, a pest
Starlings – year round, eat my chicken feed
Common Grackle – all summer, eat all baby song birds
Brewers Blackbird – all summer, eat the baby birds

Besides birds, I also have:
Skunks, Badgers, Coyotes, Pronghorns, Swift Foxes, Cotton Tails and Jackrabbits – mainly in the pasture
And Bull Snakes

Today, I could water my vegetable garden without the wind blowing 40 mph. I sat down with my beloved Saint Bernard dog beside me and watched all the birds. As soon as the water flows, the swallows are there. They pick up the wet soil with some straw and fly into my barn to build their nests. I have, at least, 15 pairs here. These fragile little birds have to be the most acrobatic flyers on the wing. It is also amazing to me, to understand how they can catch their meal in flight.
Then there is the Robin, trying to pull all the worms out of my garden. I know they have to eat, but why the worms that I need for my garden soil? Oh, well!!
…and then there is this pair of Mocking Birds. The male starts to sing by my bedroom window hours before the sun comes up and he does sing pretty. It is also fascinating to watch these Mocking Birds catch their meal on the ground. They open and close their wings while their tail whips up and down.
I love to hear the cooing of the Mourning and Turtle Doves. All night long, I hear the Great Horned Owl hooting. The little Finches also sing pretty all day.
It is amazing to watch all these little critters in my place, considering that I live in the prairie.
Some folks call us Flatlanders, but I did plant hundreds of Rocky Mt. Junipers, some Pinon Pines, Aspen, Lilacs, Roses, lots of different types of shrubs, berry bushes, etc. No wonder everyone feels here at home.

Question: Have you noticed how many birds you have around your place?


candi said...

Lots of sparrows, purple finches, house finches, gold finches, starlings, grackles, several different kinds of hawks (my daughter can name them, I just admire from afar), burrowing owls, mocking birds, mourning doves, robins, scrub jays, stenton jays, herons, egrets, Canada geese. I live in the city, but we're close to the bottom of SF Bay and the wildlife preserves, so we get quite a variety. We also get skunks, 'possums, foxes and bobcats, deer and the occasional cougar.

CraftyGryphon said...

Hm. I know we've got lots of cardinals - they wake me up everyday. (My fault for getting an alarm clock with an alarm that sounds eerily like a cardinal...). I've seen sparrows, pigeons, mourning doves, some sort of finch, blue jays, catbirds/mocking birds, two types of woodpeckers, a turkey buzzard (on my front lawn - and I live in suburbia!), crows, and last month, a baby raptor (not sure which kind!). We have a fox that hunkers down in our bushes sometimes, but we haven't seen her this year. (Again, I live in a suburb ringed by an interstate. Where'd the fox come from??)

Anonymous said...

Maria! I just loved reading about
your mother's place. She is so descriptive. I am amazed at all she has around her, and she recognizes and notices everything. A mystery was solved, too, I think. We have a little wren house. We just LOVE to listen to them sing to us all summer. Well, awhile back we found tiny little broken eggs under their house. It made me cry to think that that could happen. Well, we have GRACKLES and I'll bet they are the ones who ate the eggs. They have those long horrible beaks and they have killed some of our finches before when they got in between them and the seed! All part of nature, though, I guess, but it makes me sad. Anyway, thanks for sharing your mother's beautiful words with us! Bonnie C.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it is easier to be anon.I live intown in the East.Cardinals,mourning doves,pigeons,robins,and lots of little birds.Chickadees?Just reading about them makes me homesick for the country.

N. Maria said...

I love to read ALL comments! Thank you, Anonymous for leaving one! Sometimes, it's nice to be able to email you back if you ever have a question.
I, too, get homesick for the country.