Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Bird Spotting

Today I spotted a small flying bird backlit by the sun. The wings were definitely red. It landed high up in a tree and I didn't recognize it's call.

Then an hour later I spotted a robin in the yard. I've never seen a robin out here, and certainly wouldn't expect one in the cold of winter. I could be wrong, but it had a red breast and dark wings.

A friend left us a bale of straw on Sunday. On Monday the guinea fowl were all over it. They kept sitting on it while pecking and scratching it to pieces. By afternoon, it was clear they just weren't going to leave it alone so I had to stack stuff on top of it. I don't know if they were after insects or seeds but they were making a terrible mess of it.

Last week a cold snap dumped snow on the hills. Now it is warm again in the days but cold at night.

The snow hasn't reached our yard yet. Does this count as a white Christmas or not?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bacon Grease For the Birds

I've been collecting bacon drippings for the birds. I have a metal can on my stove top. I layered the bacon grease with wild bird seed and corn meal. I finally had enough gathered to hang it from a tree today. Tomorrow, I'll see if they went for it. It's another idea I got from the bird reference book from the library.

Neighbor's chicken. Can't wait to get our own.

Hummingbird Feeder

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pinecone, Peanut Butter and Birdseed

This rainy morning I was delighted to see the birds had taken to my new peanut butter pinecone. I saw a mockingbird hovering next to it.  It flies up, pecks once or twice, then lands. Then repeat. About ten birds had gathered on the ground waiting to eat whatever fell off, like a pinata. A bit later I would see a sparrow sit on top of it. But the seeds on top are already gone, so it's tricky to get to the peanut butter section.

I realized the quail weren't going to get any so I stood on the porch and threw some stale tortilla pieces on the ground for them to eat. I was wearing my fuzzy warm socks. I looked down and the cat has slipped out somehow and was standing on the porch mat. So I had to step on the soggy thing to get the cat back in and my socks got all cold and squishy. Yuck! So once we were back inside, I had to change socks. By the time I got back the quail were snatching up their tortillas and making a quick escape back into the bushes. I'm almost out of birdseed so I'm glad I had old bread. The bird feeding book says go ahead and give them bread, so I don't feel bad about it anymore.

I'm also saving up bacon grease layered with cornmeal for their next treat. And I got a salt brick to put out for them as soon as it stops raining.

Holding the peanut butter pinecone the day I hung it up.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Today's Birds in My Yard

The yard is full of white crowned sparrows. I'm glad I finally found out the name for them. I've been admiring their black and white racing stripes ever since I moved here. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/white-crowned_sparrow/id I also spotted a pair of mourning doves eating the seed I scattered on the ground.

And yesterday out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a roadrunner run behind the far side of the house.

I wish I still had my old camera with the zoom lens. My tiny digital camera doesn't do justice to birds that are far away.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Sunset in Lucerne Valley CA ©Fayme Harper 2013

Hummingbird feeder after windstorm.

Lid to hummingbird feeder stuck on the fence.
I was in the yard doing an embroidery project of a hummingbird. Then I heard a hummingbird. It hovered around me for a bit, and that reminded me that I was going to hang up the hummingbird feeders again. It was big, as hummingbirds go.

During the last windstorm, both my hummingbird feeders blew away. Today I did my best to get them back in place. The plastic one lost one yellow 'eye' around a nozzle, but was otherwise functional. The glass bottle feeder that I made survived as well, but needed a thorough cleaning. Then they both got filled with sugar water and hung back up. I'm sure by morning they'll find it again and carry on.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

First Post From a Bird Enthusiast in the Mojave Desert

Bird watching has always fascinated me and now that I live in the country I have the opportunity to turn my yard into a bird sanctuary. The yard came supplied with both wild and domestic birds. But I can plant things birds like and put out food and suet and salt for them to attract even more.

We've been here a year and I've seen quail, ravens, hawks, turkey vultures, woodpeckers, scrub jays, roadrunners, cactus wrens and a myriad of tweety birds and hummingbirds.

We also put out wild bird seed, bread, fruit, and leftover vegetables and they love it all.
I have seen others attacked for feeding bread to birds, but I checked out a copy of the Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible by Sally Roth and she lists all types of breads, some that are baked specifically for birds, and even recommends feeding them cake. So I shall continue feeding them bread leftovers, only now without the guilt. It would be different if it was their only diet, but they eat seeds from many sources out here.

This year the Joshua Trees bloomed. Eventually the fruit dries and large black seeds are plentiful. The chipmunks love them. I'll have to be more observant to see if the birds eat them as well.

I got a lot of ideas from the book, and will now be pouring bacon drippings into empty tuna cans and putting those out as well. With winter coming, I'm looking forward to many feathered friends as well as chipmunks and rabbits.

Ravens love to sit in the giant cottonwood trees.

Sunset in Lucerne Valley

Guinea Fowl visiting from next door