Birds

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California’s Native Cornucopia: Plentiful Food for the Birds!

California’s Native Cornucopia: Plentiful Food for the Birds!

It’s a bit artificial to create a listing like this which is defined by the months of the year; as we all know, nature does not follow the human calendar. Day lengths are set and reliable, but local weather is not, and neither are the conditions within micro...
It’s for the Birds!

It’s for the Birds!

I love watching the birds at my feeders, which are strategically placed away from potential danger and in such a way that I get a great view from my favorite place to sit and read. I’ll notice all the activity in a peripheral sort of way, but when something unusual...
Two Redbuds

Two Redbuds

Early in March, the Redbud is ready to burst into bloom; the beautiful zig-zagging tracery of its branches soon to be disguised in a cloud of pink flowers. I’ve planted several redbuds in different areas on our property, but the most spectacular is a well-developed...
An Ode to Elderberries

An Ode to Elderberries

Elderberries and Other Native Fruits of Summer California native plants provided a rich and varied diet for the native peoples; this is a flora of plentitude, and I really like to partake of it. I recently picked and cleaned the fruits of Lemonade Berry (Rhus...
Making Space for Weeds

Making Space for Weeds

The Flickers have now left my oak woodlands and moved to higher elevations in the Coast Ranges; I’ll look forward to seeing them again when we’re camping in the forests this summer. Meanwhile, the Tree Swallows are here already and I’m waiting to hear the first calls...
Seed Eaters

Seed Eaters

A number of animals store acorns for later consumption; notably the Acorn Woodpeckers with their ‘granary trees’. They place each acorn just so, packed tightly into a hole, and then tend to their store regularly, moving the acorns to smaller holes when they start to...
Fruit Eaters

Fruit Eaters

I was lucky enough to be outside at just the right time about a week ago when I noticed a lot of activity around a Toyon – the most spectacular Toyon I’ve ever seen, and it lives on the top side of the meadow next to my house and garden. This Toyon (Heteromeles...
Musing on Madia

Musing on Madia

The term Ecology is a relatively new field of study in the world of Biology; it was coined in 1866 by the German scientist, Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919). There are now two major subdivisions; animal ecology or plant ecology; and as many as twenty-one different...
Nevin’s Barberry

Nevin’s Barberry

This year my Nevin’s Barberry (Berberis nevinii) truly made that leap and ‘came into its own’! Lovely, fragrant yellow flowers smothered the plant in early spring, right about the same time as many Ceanothus start to bloom; and then abundant, small red berries...
Birds and Berries

Birds and Berries

All through the rainy season many birds rely on fruits as a major part of their diet. These birds often travel in flocks, like the Cedar Waxwings and American Robins. Sometimes the flocks are mixed; several different species will travel together, and all are “on the...
Some Natural Types of Seed Pre-Conditioning

Some Natural Types of Seed Pre-Conditioning

Whenever I’m out collecting I always keep it foremost in my mind that seeds are food for all sorts of insects and other invertebrates, for birds, rodents and other mammals, and food for humans! When I gather toyon berries in December, I take just a handful from...