Friday, May 28, 2010

Almost June

Update on the 'lbb' or little brown birds raising a brood in the bluebird box. The breakthrough came while browsing our local native plant nursery website ( Since they cater to creating natural settings in landscaping, their site suggests plant types to lure birds and butterflies and has a nice section on local birds. There near the bottom - a photo matching the squatters, House Wren (Troglodytes aedon). Just about the same size as most of the hummingbirds and about as energetic. With just a quick glance, they could be mistaken for a mouse as a frequent behavior is running along the ground and hopping between low branches of shrubs in search of insects. Here is one of the parents coming out after dropping off a bug.
Incoming food! one less bug in the yard or garden.

I am only seeing Anna's and Blackchin hummingbirds at the moment, they seem to be more resident. The Rufus and Caliope hummers are more migratory and thus have passed through heading north. They should be back toward the end of summer on their way south.

The orioles still the loud ones on the block, flying between the tops of the avocado trees next door and the pepper trees and the feeders. They are, as expected, very fond of the grape jelly in the converted feeder. Last year the orioles were few and far between by September so they should be hanging around for 3-4 more months before heading south and east.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Middle of May

The amount of territorial behavior from the hummingbirds seems to ebb and flow.Over the winter it was quite high, then as the population increased early spring it went away. Now there is one old guy running rough shod over three feeders in one corner.
Here he is in one of his two favored lookouts. If any other hummer gets close to 'his feeders' he will buzz over and run them off. He is a little slow but very persistent.

The oriole count is around 4-5 families judging by the adult males. I recently switched one of the  feeders to grape jelly to see how they like it.

There has been a 'western bluebird' house up in a back corner of the yard for 4 to 5 years with nary a bluebird moving in. Several years ago it was filled with small twigs, a very hap-hazard collection but no evidence of family life. I cleaned it out a couple years ago and noticed a couple days ago that small sticks were jammed in the opening again. I have been keeping an occasional eye out for visitors and yesterday saw a small brown bird squeezing inside through the top vent slot. Identification to follow.