Wednesday, July 18, 2007

As you can see, I have changed the format for this blog. I have unfortunately lost all previous comments, and want to thank everyone who commented in the past.

A bit of bird discussion today. First, hummingbirds. I finally have a decent variety in the yard, including, at last, I'm pretty sure a broad-billed, which is my very favorite. The picture here is a broadbill from my old house. We called him "Olivier" because he was so dramatic and self-confident.

Second topic is the monsoon, which so far is pretty much a non-soon. Though it has been very hot (105 plus most days) and humid, this neighborhood has received only .18 inch in the last three weeks. It has been horribly uncomfortable out, and my back porch is full of baby birds panting in the shade. They are very messy, but I love to watch them because they are so full of curiosity, interested in everything around them. There's even a baby cardinal who occasionally snags a sunflower seed from the feeder, then brings it to the porch to try to open. He seems to be getting pretty good at it.

This morning while I was watering, a black-headed grosbeak landed on the fence about two feet from where I was standing. I wish I had a picture, as this is a very impressive bird. About the size of a cardinal, maybe a little bit bigger, but its body is a bright russety orange, it doesn't have a crest, and its bill is large and parrot-like.

Finally, quail. There are a number of quail families of varying sizes that visit my pond and run around our front and side yards as well as the back. I've been hearing quail calling at sunset in the front yard, and suspected they might be nesting in citrus tree outside the porch, which has a thick security screen. Yesterday evening while I was standing on the porch looking at storm clouds to the south, a quail family including three young fourth- or fifth-graders began preparing to roost. First the parents began herding the children toward the citrus. Then, after everyone was in position, the father flew up into the tree, quite high, and began calling to his family. Then the mother flew up. Then, one by one, the babies flew up. Their little wings flapped so hard they looked like little sideways helicopters. The third baby didn't quite get the angle right and slammed into the screen door. He then picked himself up and made another attempt, landing perfectly on a branch.


  1. I will try. I think I like your new format, but only if I can leave messages as easily as before. Lovely photo of the canyon.

  2. Joe F7:50 PM

    Cool picture of the hummingbird! Up here in MN, we only have the ruby-throated ones, and I have been unsuccessful in attracting them for 3 summers now. However, I am seeing a lot of juvenile cardinals, house finches and downy woodpeckers at my feeders lately. The goldfinches are nesting now, but should be back soon.

  3. Hey there - I am now officially caught up on your blog. I have a quail story......I was sitting at my diningroom table when motion on the porch caught my attention......there was mama quail with 6 of the tiniest babies I have ever seen.......thrilling as they were inches from me......they moved to the lawn to bug-hunt. Dad was on our back wall keeping watch. We have a lot of ravens in our neighborhood so this is very necessary. Jill