The happiness and happenings of my backyard buddies.
By, Mandi Crinigan
It’s routine. Before my coffee or any other household demands, I’m outside tending to my yard. Really, I’m tending to the habitat and nourishment of my backyard birds. “I have to water the plants.” really means I’m checking the bird baths, the seeds, the hummingbird feeders and yes, I am also watering the plants. I tell the birds they are making a mess, that I have their snacks and fresh water for them. They watch me move around the yard. My presence is expected and only disturbs my more sensitive visitors, like the Gambel's Quail and Mourning Doves. The House Finches are particularly busy and needy right now.
The fledglings are out of the nest and are dining out with their parents. They can fly well, they can eat their own food, but they still make a fuss and beg Mom or Dad to feed them. Fledglings are just beginning to understand the world, much like human toddlers. They are curious, loud and generally fearless. I’ve noticed one fledgling in particular has very little concern over my presence. When sitting outside, he'll swoop down to a bath just feet away and take a sip, maybe make a splash. If I’m putting a new snack out, he won’t fly off, but waits patiently, watching me.
Today was a first, of which I have many, but this moment was truly delightful. Hose in hand, watering my plants, water dripping down and splashing on the ground, I notice some motion out of the corner of my eye. I try to keep my own motions still and calm so I’m not too disruptive to my bird tenants. The movement is at my feet and I very slowly look down to my toes, where water is splashing and making a little puddle. There he is. Young little House Finch. Water plopping onto his itty bitty self while he sips from the tiny puddle forming. He knows I’m there. I know he is there. The distance of my height is all that separates us. He has a good little time and flits off to join his parents on the wall nearby. He immediately begins to fuss for food. Which reminds me, I’d like to have that cup of coffee now and maybe some toast. Toast with lots of seeds, because what else would a bird fanatic eat for breakfast!?!?
If you want to learn more about House Finches, which are common here in Las Vegas, please head over to: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/house-finch
Important note: This past spring songbird populations were hit hard by Conjunctivitis, a bacterial infection. If you want to attract songbirds to your yard, fresh water and native plants that provide food is always the best approach. If you do decide you want to attempt seed feeders, there are factors you should consider. Considerations include HOA/community restrictions on bird feeders, the local pest species which may also be attracted to your feeders and, most importantly, the health of the birds you are trying to attract. Feeders must be cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent bacterial growth. In my case, I have 6 feeders. I rotate 3 at a time, cleaning and disinfecting daily. Yes, this is time consuming. I also took down all feeders during the outbreak and compiled w/ the Nevada Dept. of Wildlifes request to do so. Audubon protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. So do I and you should too!
Hope you enjoyed my tale. Have questions or comments? Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org