Posts Tagged: birds
Broken Wing belongs here. And that's a good thing, because he won't live long. A male monarch that we've nicknamed “Broken Wing” due to...
Monarch butterfly showing signs of a predator encounter. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Broken-winged monarch sips nectar from a butterfly bush. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bees do it. Butterflies do it. Beetles do it. Birds do it. Bats do it. Do what, you ask? They pollinate! The Bohart Museum of Entomology at the...
A Western tiger swallowtail, Papilio rutulus, visiting a flowering quince in the UC Davis Arboretum. Butterflies are pollinators. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee pollinating an almond blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lady beetle pollinating an Iceland poppy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
How many times have you walked around the University of California, Davis campus on a weekend and wished: "If only those buildings were open--I'd...
A walking stick being fed a leaf at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Once my husband and I had gotten the upper hand on preventing spotted-wing fruit flies from ruining our delicious Lapin cherries, we still had the problem of birds chowing down on them. In previous years, we had covered the tree with bird netting, but needless to say this was always a difficult procedure – both putting it up and taking it down. The bigger negative was that more than one bird got caught in the net…a traumatic experience for all concerned!
So one day while driving through the wine country and observing the balloon-like oddities suspended above the rows of grapes, inspiration struck! The balls had “evil eyes” printed on them and they were moving in the breeze. Putting two and two together: I had previously been advised by Gary Bogue (retired wildlife columnist for the Contra Costa Times) that hanging a yellow smiley-face balloon in the almond tree would keep squirrels at bay. The problem was that the balloons, though seemingly effective for a time, eventually ran out of gas, faded and got stuck in the tree.
We came up with our own solution: a volleyball which we painted with an “evil eye” on each side. It was suspended just above the tree top via a PVC pipe and Voilà! Out of 60 pounds of cherries, about a dozen of them had bird pecks , and these came from the lower branches where I suppose the eye wasn’t visible.
Later in the summer, we hung the volleyball eye above our almond tree and it seemed to keep the squirrel away as well. Our squirrel-crazed bird dogs alerted us every time it hit our neighbors’ almond tree…maybe that had something to do with it too.
The evil eye! (photo by Donna Seslar)
Doing monthly maintenance at the Children’s Memorial Garden in Fairfield has been more enjoyment than labor. The volunteer Master Gardeners who participate, show up early on the appointed day, with their tools, always eager to begin the task at hand. Everyone finds a job from weeding, deadheading, raking leaves and removing debris. Often we talk and share plant information or discuss upcoming Master Gardener events. Occasionally, in silence, we listen to the hum of bees and observe dragonflies and damselflies as they zoom in and out between the plants. Earlier this year, we observed a crow and heard a meadowlark in the magnolia and arbutus trees behind the little garden.
It was listening to the sounds of the garden that gave me an idea. Why not add a birdhouse on a pole to the garden. It might become a home for the birds and would be a delight to the adults and children who pass by daily. My husband and I had a rustic birdhouse that was embellished with a western motif (metal horse head, stars and horseshoe). The pole we envisioned was something natural, not something perfect or man-made. When we found a seven foot long tree branch in the alley behind our house, it was exactly what we were searching for. After removing most of the branches and cleaning the trunk, the birdhouse was attached to the pole with glue and screws. One weekend we took the birdhouse on the branch to the Children’s Garden and dug a two foot hole to place and stabilize the pole. Not many people notice this addition as it blends into the garden like it has always been there.
As of this writing, there are no new residents in the birdhouse. Maybe the birds are unsure of the horse head significance on their potential nesting home. The birdhouse is standing guard over this tiny garden the Master Gardeners planted in memory of the children of Solano County who have passed away.
Entrance to the bird house. (photos by Sharon Rico)
Bird house on a branch (pole).