A Baby Bird Learns to Fly

Parent-Bird
I like to wake up early and write at a small table next to a window looking out onto our enclosed front patio. Friday I became aware of a bird hopping and flying about the patio. He seemed frantic as he chirped and called in an agitated manner. I grabbed my camera and took the above photo of him as he took a short rest. At first I thought he was waiting for our front water fountain to come on, but then I noticed a tiny baby bird hiding behind the leg of a bench. The adult bird flew down and began to attend to the baby.

baby-bird-2

Below you can see the baby being fed by its parent.

Feeding-BabyThe adult birds continued all day to fly off and return with food. The baby hid and rested while the parents were away, and became more lively whenever it was time to eat.Baby-standing

I took the above photo later in the day, as the baby was slowly gaining strength. Before long, we could differentiate between the voice of the adult bird and the baby’s. Occasionally, the baby would try to fly, but it couldn’t get very high off of the ground. As the sun was setting, the father seemed to be encouraging the baby to fly. It was amazing to watch.The vocal father seemed to be the main caregiver, and we wondered if the mother was perhaps sitting on other babies in the nest. We were tempted to try to box or cage the bird for the night, but decided it was best not to interfere. Eventually, the adult bird left for the night. He must have been exhausted. A few times during the night, I wondered how the little bird was doing alone, and probably cold, in the dark.

I was up early and in my place by the window when the sun rose. Then I heard the voice of the adult bird. He was back calling to his baby. Here you see him on the patio table. He certainly was a dedicated parent!

returning-father

I didn’t think the little bird, huddled in the far corner of the patio, was still alive. My husband went outside with a long stick and reached it to the very still baby. When its foot was touched, it scurried quickly behind the water fountain. He was alive! We were so happy. The father bird again began feeding the baby. It was heart-warming to see how this wild bird cared for one of its young. I was feeling blessed to be witnessing all of this, yet I still feared for the little bird. My husband eventually placed a few bread crumbs on the patio floor, and the adult bird began to peck at them and call to the baby  to come out of hiding. Suddenly it happened. The baby joined the parent out in the open. Next the parent flew to the top of our lattice fence, and the baby took flight and then slipped through an opening in the lattice (photo below).

flying-baby

Suddenly both baby and father flew off together. If I hadn’t looked up exactly when I did, I would have missed this thrilling end to an amazing two days of bird watching.

Hummingbirds and Hooded Orioles

Femail-hooded-orealThis is the female Hooded Oriole that visits the hummingbird feeder outside our kitchen window every day and dines on the hummingbird food. We’ve been feeding hummingbirds for several years now, but this is the first summer we’ve seen Hooded Orioles in our yard. We see the female most often. Her mate does eat from the feeder, but appears to be more shy, and when he does visit he doesn’t stay for long. Below You see a photo I was able to take of both birds together. He is much more brilliant in color. Bright yellow and black, the female is olive and black.

male-and-female-oriols2

 Below you see two of several Anna’s hummingbirds that visit our feeder all year round. The Anna’s Hummingbird does not migrate south during the winter, so we can enjoy them in Orange County, both in summer and winter. The Hooded Orioles migrate to southern coastal Mexico during the winter months and return to Southern California in the spring. humming-bird-2hummingbird-1The hummingbirds and orioles seem very willing to share the sugar water. I do however,  have to prepare fresh batches of food more often than in the past, but It’s well worth it, especially since it allows us such a wonderful view of these beautiful birds. We’ll miss seeing the Orioles when they leave us in late summer, but it’s nice to know that the little Anna’s will stay with us, and hopefully the Hooded Orioles will return next spring.

 

Hummingbird Garden Update

Garden-2 Three weeks ago we started a hummingbird garden. You can read about it in Our Hummingbird Garden and in Our Hummingbird garden Part 2.

I’m not sure if readers realized that I potted the plants in containers rather than in the ground. The pots are sitting on flagstone tiles in the center of the yard. It is one of the few places where we get full sun during the day. Most of the sage and salvia plants that attract hummingbirds like a full sun exposure. Each plant has a drip system running to it, but I do have to supplement the water supply. Most of these plants are drought tolerant, but in the hot summer sun, especially in pots, they do need more water.

This morning I went on line to learn how to propagate sage and salvia plants. I discovered a helpful blog called Growing the Home Garden. In a short article I found what I was looking for. I finished reading, and headed into the garden to look for just the right cuttings. As sometimes happens I found myself doing things a little differently than planned, and it also turned out to be a faster way to expand our hummingbird garden.

Pineapple-sageAbove is the Pineapple Sage plant, another hummingbird favorite. I purchased a small plant on May 25, and it had already outgrown its original pot. While repotting the sage, I was able to separate a smaller plant that was an offshoot of the larger one. Above you see the original and secondary plants in their new pots.  I can’t wait to see their bright red flowers. I will be sure to post a picture when it happens. This plant seems to be a very fast grower, and something tells me I will soon be sharing pineapple sage plants. Pineapple Sage Tea anyone?

Our Hummingbird Garden

 

 

Salvia-gregii-oneWe love hummingbirds, and always have a feeder filled with sugar water hanging outside our kitchen window. In Southern California we have the Allen’s Hummingbird, the Black chinned Hummingbird, and the Anna’s Hummingbird. The Anna’s doesn’t migrate, so we enjoy them all year round. I’d been thinking of starting a hummingbird garden for quite awhile, so the birds would be attracted to our yard, and not always dependent on the sugar water mixture in the feeder.

Two days ago we visited our local nursery and with the help of one of the garden professionals, who was a fellow hummingbird lover, we arrived home with seven plants that hummingbirds favor. The beautiful pink blossomed plant above is the Salvia gregii.

Salvia-black-and-blue-oneHere you see the Salvia Black and Blue. Notice the tubular blossoms. They are perfect for the hummingbird’s long beak, an interesting characteristic of Salvia plants.Pineapple-sage-1This pineapple sage is the plant I’d planned to make the first addition to our hummingbird garden. I’ve been promised spires of cardinal red blooms. I can’t wait, and apparently neither can the hummingbirds. I’ve read that here in Southern California, where we rarely have hard freezes, the blooms may continue all year. There are many uses for this plant, including tossing a few of the red flowers in salads. Amazing!

I’ve included only three of the plants we’ve made part of our hummingbird garden in this latest post. Today I’ll be out taking more photos of the garden and hopefully some of the little residents enjoying a sip of nectar. I’ll include the remainder of the plants next time.