Desert Horses

Welcome to my horse blog, Desert Horses. We live in the desert southwest, near Palm Springs, CA, but board our horses up in our local mountains where it is cooler in the summer. I have 4 horses, all rescues. Here is the ranch up the mountains where the horses stay.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Birds stories

First, we have a cooper's hawk that lives in our neighborhood now for several years.  It is the bird that killed the scrub jay who lived in our neighborhood for 3 1/2 years...sigh...Anyway, I've seen two adults now and 1 juvenile hawk.  I believe the females are larger than the males, so this one must be the female.  She comes and goes and gets a dove every now and then.  Apparently she now spends most of her time down the street because I was talking to the neighbor down there and she flew out of his elm tree.

Then, we have a family of mockingbirds.  These birds have been in our neighborhood for 40 years.  We USED to have quail, but they are long gone.  Oh, and a family of roadrunners, but they are gone, too.  Too many houses nearby and now we have NO open space.  The mockingbirds, however, have adapted well to "city life".  They live in our neighbor's yard right across from my office window, so I can look out and see their antics.

They first came to the yard when I put out a shallow bowl of water.  Then, I started putting out mealworms, which I buy by the bag at WalMart.  They were hooked.  Now they appear every morning looking for their breakfast.  I feed them next to the water bowl and on the dead tree trunks (2 of them).  Even the young one comes and does a dance demanding food, although it is capable of getting its own.  They are quite entertaining.

And, there is a family of ravens up at the horse ranch.  Apparently they have been there for YEARS.  They used to have a nest in one of the oak trees next to the house, but an owl chased them out of that nest this year.  They have 3 babies, for a total of 5 in the family group.  They are quite loud and bossy!  The ranch owner feeds them the dead mice that she catches in her aviary. I always enjoy watching them.

Last time I was up there, an owl and a hawk were going at it.  The hawk was diving at the owl, who was trying to make an exit.  Apparently the hawk has taken over the owl's territory at the ranch and the owl isn't too happy about this, but has now moved on.

And, we have 4 or 5 hummingbirds in our yard.  I see a couple of males and 1 female.  We used to have bees visit the feeders and drink ALL the nectar, but they have disappeared COMPLETELY in the last week.  Not a bee in sight.  I wonder where they all went because they could sure empty the feededrs in a day and I have about 4 feeders in the yard, 2 out front, and 2 in the back.  If I leave the hose dripping into the water dish out back, the hummingbirds show up every morning for a drink.  They visit the feeders in the morning and late afternoon and seem to disappear during the heat of the day.

Such is the bird life in our neighborhood.  I actually got a photo today of one of the mockingbirds.  And, just as I snapped my tablet, a hummingbird appeared at the feeder outside my office window~~ a 2-fer!

You can see the hummingbird easily.  The mockingbird is perched on the stand where the water bowl is located.

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