By Mary Alice Murphy
The raising of baby birds continues in our front yard at the feeders. The birds have a choice of a suet feeder, a block seed feeder and seeds in a squirrel-proof feeder.
Early last week, the treat of the morning while I was washing breakfast dishes was to watch Mama ladderback woodpecker feed one of her juveniles a bit plucked from the suet block. The juvenile squawked and carried on for more, but junior two showed up and also got a taste.
The funniest thing was watching a young house finch try to land on the seed feeder. It tried flying in and missed the perch and ended up on a planter below. It flew up again and missed again. The third time it managed to get on a hanging plant nearby and sort of jumped to the feeder. Ah, success.
Fuzzy, juvenile canyon towhees, which I affectionately call "car birds," because they hang out in the wheel wells of my husband's truck, seem to like the block seed feeder. Sometimes getting a foothold and pecking at the block is a challenge, when you're just getting your "wings."
I think we likely have young black-chinned hummingbirds, too, because although I haven't seen too many different birds, the nectar is disappearing more quickly than it did last week.
Juvenile black-headed grosbeaks frequently come by. One juvenile, just this evening, was struggling to hang on to the suet cage and get a bite to eat, too. Papa, in all his orange and black glory, had much more success. They take their pick of any of the three seed and suet feeders and feast away. They're the big ones on the block, so usually chase away any other bird looking for a bite to eat.
This evening, a disheveled titmouse visited the seed block feeder, so I suspect it's a young one.
I think the curved-billed thrashers have brought up their young'uns either in or near the large cholla out front. I saw Mama thrasher pick out a piece of suet and carry it to junior out by the birdbath.
The Gambel's quail family comes to see us early in the morning to get the gleanings on the patio under the feeders. A childless pair usually shows up in the evenings.
They come about the same time as when our regular cottontail, with the really big eyes, comes to drink the birdbath down an inch.
The white-breasted nuthatches still make appearances, but not as frequently as the week before.
We have large doves, too, but I haven't seen any that I thought might be juveniles. Maybe they mature faster or haven't hatched yet?
To me, it seems late in the season for all the birds to be young, and at the same time. And the usual May and June heat has been sporadic at best.
The yuccas, which usually bloom in May, are all in flower now. What's going on? Blame it on the constantly changing climate. Never two like years in a row, although usually we have more of a pattern, which seems really off this year.
May your musings bring you beauty!