[Tweeters] Birds at home in Camas and in California

Rob Conway robin_birder at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 20 00:17:23 PDT 2015

Birds are building nests everywhere in my yard. I do have out 12 bird boxes on my one acre lot and currently have Black-capped and Chestnut backed chickadees, a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches, House and Purple Finches, a song sparrow pair and maybe Saw-whet owls using them. Today for the first time I saw a wren enter the little wren house in a Japanese Maple - the only "commercial" bird house I have - mine are all from a pattern I use to make houses from 5 or 6 foot cedar fence boards. Many American Robins appear to be investigating places to nest as do Steller's and Western Scrub Jays, a couple of pairs of Mourning Doves, Spotted Towhees, and Fox Sparrows. Both Anna's and Rufous hummers have active nests in the yard - their tiny perfectly lichen lined cups are hard to see unless you follow the birds to them. A pair of Bushtits has a bag nest in the pear tree! Just today I saw a pair of Brown Creepers bringing in nesting material behind loose bark of a fir snag. Flickers and Red-breasted Sapsuckers are excavating higher up in the big snags on the edge of the property.
Birds in the neighborhood include Black-throated Grey, Nashville, Yellow Rumped and Orange Crowned warblers, the summer crowd of Turkey Vultures (which arrived on the bluffs nearly a month ago), 2 pairs of Red Tailed Hawks, Ravens, overhead Bald Eagles, Canada Geese, and Great Blue Herons. Weirdly I had 4 Red-winged Blackbirds at my feeders yesterday - I thought I had heard them earlier but wrote that off to Starling immitators...but no, there were Blackbirds here well away (1/2 mile) from suitable habitat.
Earlier this month I made a quick trip to our ranch in California and their were paired and nesting birds everywhere including Canyon Wrens in a wren house in the back magnolia tree, scrub jays in the live oaks, and 3 or 4 hummers. Wild Turkeys, California Quail, Ravens, Eagles, several Hawk species and even Roadrunners were paired up. 5 Western Bluebird pairs were in the 20+ year old nest boxes on fence posts in an open field. The water situation is unreal with even major streams empty or near empty - something we don't usually see until late August or September. There has been enough rain to keep the grass green and growing...but barely. The watering troughs on ranches all around are major magnates for birds from all around for the 3rd year in a row. Amazing how resilient our feathered friends are. Hope things get better there soon.

Rob Conway
Camas, WA
45.58°N 122.44°W - elevation 310 ft.
robin_birder at hotmail.com

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