Archive for April, 2022

About a year ago, we had a bit of an invasion in our yard. Rats, in ever growing numbers, were eating the birdseed from the feeders in our backyard (and also eating just about everything else they could find). So, to make the area less hospitable, we decided to take down the bird feeders and so remove the birdseed as a food source. Let me me tell you, I really missed having birds frequenting the yard to eat!

But it worked! We removed all the food sources we could find and trapped the rats like crazy for quite a while, and we have not seen a rat in a couple of months. So we, tentatively, refilled the bird feeders and rehung them in the yard.

Once the feeders were rehung, I was curious to see how long it would take for them to be rediscovered, and which species would be the first to notice and take advantage of this food source. For the first two days the feeders went ignored, but on the third day a flash of feathers dropped onto the pole that the feeders hang from.

It was an Oak Titmouse!

Oak Titmouse (Photo by Aaron N.K. Haiman)

The titmouse looked the feeders over from its perch on the top of the pole, and then flew off without dropping down to actually take a seed; its exit just and sudden and purposeful as its arrival. Just a few minutes later the flash of feathers appeared again, and once again there was an Oak Titmouse on the top of the pole. This time the titmouse did drop down to one of the feeders, grabbed a sunflower seed, and rapidly departed. A few minutes after that, the flash of feathers occurred once again, and again there was a titmouse on the pole. This time, it only paused there a moment before going for a seed, and while it did so, a different flash of feathers appeared! A second Oak Titmouse joined the first on the feeder, each bird took a sunflower seed, and both flew off. The two birds, very likely a mated pair, visited the feeder numerous more times that afternoon and evening.

Watching these birds appear to drop out of nowhere so suddenly is such fun! They are so filled with character and curiosity that watching them investigate the bird feeders and the rest of the surroundings is a constant source of entertainment, and they fly in so fast and with so little warning, and then leave so abruptly, that each flight coming or going is a surprise and gives me a thrill of excitement.

The Oak Titmouse pair has continued to be frequent visitors to the feeders. They have been joined, so far, by a handful of House Finches, a California Scrub-Jay, a pair of Mourning Doves, and a pair of Lesser Goldfinches.

It is hard to put into word just how happy I am to have birds back in the yard! I just hope the rats stay away.

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

Begin following this blog!

View and subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »

Ten years ago, my wife and bother both laid out reasons for why they each thought I should start writing a blog. Well, when both of these people think something is a good idea, I am smart enough to listen. So, on April 7, 2012 with a post about Swainson’s Hawks returning to their breeding grounds in Central California, the A Birding Naturalist blog was born. And I kept going and have now been writing this blog for a full decade!

For those ten years, this blog has been with me through it all. Over that span of time I conducted graduate work completing two Master’s Degrees from the University of California, Davis, my wife and I moved from Davis CA to West Sacramento CA, my wife and I bought a home, I became a dad, my wife and I bought two cars, I began working for the State of California as a Scientific Aide for the Department of Water Resources then as an Environmental Scientist for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy and now as a Senior Environmental Scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Board, I started the ABirdingNaturalist YouTube channel, and so much more.

I have spent a bit if time these past few days looking back at the posts I have written. Many themes have been consistent over the full ten years such as biodiversity, endangered species and environmental protection, taxonomy and systematics, natural history, and, of course, birds and birding. Lots of birds and birding!

Some of the themes have changed or shifted. In the early years of the blog, as I was working as a Teaching Assistant as a grad student. As such, I wrote many posts explaining college level biology concepts with the hope that my students would benefit from them. As my career has shifted and developed, that theme has shifted as well to discussing aspects of my jobs, the projects I have worked on, and some state level priorities and systems. I have also focused more on representation and inclusion in birding and science which is a shift that was too long in coming.

During these past few days of review, I also noticed that I have used this blog as a way of learning for myself. As I have started new positions or projects, I have often been introduced to new concepts. And one way that I have developed better understandings of those concepts has been to write blogs posts about them. This has helped me to deepen and clarify my knowledge, and has proven to be an incredibly useful and powerful tool. I will certainly be continuing this habitat on this blog.

Over the last decade long life of this blog, I have written a total of 292 posts. These posts have been collectively viewed a total of 85,266 times by 67,055 visitors who came from 175 countries all around the world and 97 of whom decided to become followers of the blog! I hope you all have enjoyed the blog posts, gained some fun and interesting knowledge from them, and will come back to read some more!

I am well aware that there are a ton of things we all could decide to spend our time doing, and that so many of you decide to spend some of that time reading my blog is a huge honor. Thank you! I am excited to see what the next decade contains.

Thanks again for visiting my blog! If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

Follow this blog!

View and subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Follow me on Twitter – A Birding Naturalist

Read Full Post »