Sunday July 05th 2009, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

I was outside yesterday watering the fruit trees. I suddenly realized that in the quiet of the evening, I was listening to birdsongs, and wondered what species I was hearing.

And thought thank you oh thank you, Sonic Innovations, from this previously-untreatable-110dB loss-at-8Khz user. It had been the $6400 question (literally), and they are so worth every penny.

Mourning doves walk so delicately with their tails brushing the ground like a bridal train and the slightest curve to their beaks in perfect counterpoint to the roundness of their heads; they are graceful birds.  This surprised me. I’ve always known what a mourning dove was; I’d never really spent time observing them before.

I write this as one perches close just outside my window, patiently observing *me,* looking me steadily in the eye every time I glance up.

I’m beginning to be able to tell some finch individuals apart on that feeder. The one that amuses me most is the red male that sticks his whole head in the opening and tosses it madly side to side, sending down pinata showers–licorice, eww, hershey’s kisses, nah, till he finds the one variety seed he likes best.  Sweets to the cheep.

A new-to-this-yard interloper of a squirrel with a particularly bushy tail that had never met a predator in its protected little life is clearly remembering its first: after she got incensed that his insolent teenage reaction to her opening the door was, Yeah? So what, lady? without even bracing itself, she became a screaming “GET OFF THAT!” wild woman running at it flailing her arms.  Followed by his five-foot flying leap to the ground, heart pounding, after not getting any seed anyway.

It’s never tried to jump on the feeder since, and if it sees me coming near will even stay away from the stuff on the ground, looking at me, hesitating, pleading tremblingly at me, Don’t DO that.

(I was afraid it would learn the one way to beat the anti-squirrel system and I wasn’t about to give it a chance to.)

But.  I would rather have it hoovering the concrete below that male finch than stealing my apples. Come to think of it, I’ve only found one chewed apple so far this season–on my fence, the top half gone, so you know what put it there. (Mentally calculating birdseed cost vs. the dollar value of homegrown apples.  Oh.  Well, it’s just apples and orange birds…)

Forget it, chickadee: you can’t peck a hole in the bottom by hanging upside down and going at it from down there. And if you could you’d be in for quite the surprise.

I found a place that sells dwarf mango trees with full descriptions of habit, color, fruit fibrousness or lack thereof, shape, and flavor, shipped in three gallon pots and that could grow here if it doesn’t freeze.  The site says put Christmas lights on it if the temps threaten.  Hey!

Richard’s immediate reaction was to not want to be the neighbor that never seems to take the Christmas lights down all winter.

To be continued.

20 Comments so far
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my problem with mourning doves is the ones here use my car as their personal toilet. I came out one morning for the newspaper, saw one standing on the roof of my car, and while I watched, he pooped.
I’m not a fan, unfortunately.

Comment by Sandra 07.05.09 @ 6:27 pm

Christmas trees year round are festive! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Comment by Michelle 07.05.09 @ 6:56 pm

Gah! Christmas tree *lights*

Comment by Michelle 07.05.09 @ 6:56 pm

Leaving your Christmas lights up all year is tacky. However, I’m a fan of New Years lights, Epiphany lights, Valentines lights, my-sister’s-birthday lights, etc. Besides, if you put a dwarf mango in your back yard, who will see it? Nearly all Northern California yards are fenced.

Meanwhile,I wonder what that mourning dove is writing in HER blog. “I’ve never really studied a human before. This one had a pleasantly curved mouth and shiny round eyes. Really quite pretty for a non-dove.”

Comment by LauraN 07.05.09 @ 6:59 pm

How about just petite white lights in the tree? It will be like ambiance than Christmas.

Love the bird info. Beautiful red cardinal came today…no seed in the feeder because of the crows. A finch came and tasted the thistle seed.

Comment by Joansie 07.05.09 @ 7:21 pm

I am suddenly smitten by the mango this year. Not so much the fresh ones, but I am devouring the mango smoothies at J-I-T-B every chance I get. Can a mango splitter be far behind?

Comment by Lynn 07.05.09 @ 7:47 pm

I volunteer in wildlife rehab and “my” birds are mourning doves (though this summer, I’ve also been doing the juvenile house finches). Doves are super easy to care for – their needs are very simple – and they can survive some pretty traumatic injuries.

If you look carefully, you can even tell males from females. Look for the iridescent patch of pink on the neck and watch that color glow as boy tries to impress girl 🙂

Comment by Deb 07.05.09 @ 8:07 pm

Christmas lights! Now, why didn’t I think of that? And, ROFL, with Richard’s concern. Sounds like what my DH would say. Ya gotta love ’em.

Comment by Linda W 07.05.09 @ 8:17 pm

I like the white lights suggestion or the whatever occasion you want to call it suggestion. A lighted tree in the yard, year-round, sounds lovely. We’d never see it through the snow here!

Love your descriptions of the birds, but I cannot imagine you as a “screaming “GET OFF THAT!” wild woman running at it flailing her arms” but I would pay to see the video, lol!

I’m a little behind due to the holiday, but hope you had a great holiday weekend!

Comment by Cathy (catsandyarn on ravelry) 07.05.09 @ 8:43 pm

I will never forget after my son had tube surgery when he was four and he could finally hear, we walked out the door and he asked, “What’s that sound?” It was a bird chirping. It brought me to tears.

Comment by Momo Fali 07.06.09 @ 5:35 am

I love listening to the birds in our woods. It’s one of the things that makes day after day of rain so hard… the silence…

Comment by Channon 07.06.09 @ 6:11 am

I would miss the sounds of the birds. There are some good CDs and computer programs that have bird sounds on them, and Cornell’s All About Birds website has bird sounds for each species, if you’re wanting to learn more about the sounds. I can only identify maybe half of what I hear around our house, but the bird song in the morning is, I think, the very definition of “joyful noise.” (Not that they’re any quieter in the evening, mind you!! Especially the veery, HE belts it out all dusk. And occasionally we hear a whippoorwill at night, and then the owls! Oh, yes, I’d miss the birds.)

Momo Fali’s comment reminds me of the story of when my sister got glasses. She came out of the doctor’s with her new glasses and realized that the trees had individual leaves.

Comment by amy 07.06.09 @ 6:24 am

My Heavens! From your description, one might think you and Richard live in some country area, not the heavily populated San Francisco peninsula.

I have a window type air conditioner here in my den, and the part that sticks outside slopes down a bit. Doves have tried to build nests on it, and then are apparently surprised when the eggs roll off and break on the ground. They haven’t done that lately.

The air conditioner I mentioned is sometimes referred to as a mugwump. Which reminds me of a child’s definition of a mugwump. That’s a bird that sits on a branch with its mug on one side, and its wump on the other.

Comment by Don Meyer 07.06.09 @ 7:42 am

Our anti-squirrel device is to stand by the screen door ready to quickly open it….then to whisper “squirrel”. Our dog comes flying around the corner, out she goes, and gives the poor squirrel the fright of it’s life! We’ve only had one squirrel that was smart enough to just scramble a little higher into the tree the feeder is in. The others have all jumped, hit the ground 5-7 feet away and ran at breakneck speed for the trees on the perimeter of our property.

The dog never catches them. If she could actually get them I wouldn’t let her out. I’m too much of a softy.

Comment by Marlene 07.06.09 @ 9:59 am

Totally unrelated, but when I worked at Apple, I worked closely with the Sonic Innovations folks and they were CHARMING. If I recall, they were putting together a product that would assist people with hearing aids to be able to use an iPod. 🙂

Comment by Jasmin 07.06.09 @ 10:49 am

HAH I always giggle when I see people leaving their X-Mas lights up.

Comment by Alicia 07.06.09 @ 11:10 am

You could change the lights by season, then it would be an indication of pride, not sloth :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.06.09 @ 3:22 pm

Ah, the great squirrel battle. I like tree rats, so I don’t worry about how much seed they eat. My Mom, on the other hand, wants the seed to go to the birds, so whenever she sees a raider, she rushes out onto the back deck hollering and waving her arms. Until the time she forgot she’d just gotten out of the tub and hadn’t dressed yet…

That poor squirrel took one look at the naked, screaming octogenarian charging him and leaped off the two stories up deck. He landed running and was never seen again.

Comment by wunx~ 07.09.09 @ 7:10 pm

Okay, what hearing aids did you get? Cause when I get my next pair…..

Comment by Carol 07.10.09 @ 11:38 am

I suffer from lack of light during the very long cold season here. We leave the lights on our windows (inside) until around April some years, just to keep me from suffering depression. The more colors, the better!

I don’t care if people think I’m wrong doing it, for whatever reason. I know someone who MUST put up the Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving, and MUST take it down on New Year’s Day. Schedules for celebration don’t make sense to me.

Today, however, the colors here are the climbing roses, a hydrangea bush (white) and daylilies. There is nothing like Summer in Michigan!

Comment by LynnH 07.11.09 @ 10:07 am

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