Springtime and birds

white crowned sparrow in birdbath_edited.JPG

And who is resting with their tail feathers in the birdbath water? A white crowned sparrow.

It's so much fun observing the garden and all the changes with the seasons (well, whatever seasons and changes we experience these days in northern California). Whether it's wildlife or plants, it's always fascinating.

I've never seen so many white crowned sparrows in the garden as we're seeing this spring. They are often drinking water from the birdbath or bathe in it. And in the morning they're also very busy digging in the dirt for bugs and worms.

American crow on the wire_edited.JPG

American crow on the wire

There are always American crows around, and last year they even had a nest high in a palm tree next to our driveway! There was always a flurry of activity when it was mealtime for their babies. I feel that as long as they are around we know that there is no West Nile virus danger. Above is a crow taking a break from building a nest somewhere nearby.

towhee gathering twigs b_edited.JPG

California towhee gathering nesting material

It looks like the towhees have enough building material for their nest in the shrubbery next to our back fence. The above photo was taken one morning a couple of weeks ago. When I noticed that the towhees were gathering twigs every morning in the backyard from our container plants, I decided to pick off any remaining dried up lobelia stems and put them in a little pile in the lavender plant container (to the lower left in the photo above) as an offering for the birds.

And sure enough, that same morning the towhees discovered the stash and carried it in several loads to their nest. I'm always amazed to see how much birds can carry in their beaks.

Lesson learned - it IS worth it to let plants go to seed and dry up in the winter and let nature take its course. Birds will eat whatever is edible for them, and then make use of dried twigs for spring nests.

I'm not saying that I don't remove dead plants or sweep up leaves, but I just try to use good judgement and observe a lot and learn through trial and error.

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