• A Crowned Sparrow in Sierra Madre, CA (Photo - Jean Sudbury).

      A Crowned Sparrow in Sierra Madre, CA (Photo – Jean Sudbury).

      My garden is for the birds. I work with nature to create a habitat for these fascinating avian creatures.

      By Jean Sudbury

      Each season, I rely upon visits from varieties of birds who travel through my little garden paradise. They know it’s a bird-friendly oasis in their adventures across the land, and many of them nest in the trees and hedges abundant in my little habitat.

      I will begin with favorites who have found my garden to be their homes.

      California Towhees

      California Towhee (Photo - Jean Sudbury).

      California Towhee (Photo – Jean Sudbury).

      California Towhees are quite friendly. They often greet me as I go out the front door, or if I’m in my back yard, and often venture across the concrete slab, looking for a scattered seed or two. They have a chirpy little song, and they like to communicate. They seem territorial however, as I’ve seen them attack their images in mirrors. It’s like a game to them.

      The Mockingbird

      Mockingbird in Beautyberry Bush (Photo - Rob Ireton).

      Mockingbird in Beautyberry Bush (Photo – Rob Ireton).

      The Mockingbird looks on from the top of the Bottlebrush tree, singing his heart out, practicing his repertoire. He allows me to get close, but not too close. The serenade continues as he flies off to a close by branch of the Cassia tree. Other birds act in similar fashion, although their paradigms of closeness seem to differ. It’s fun to tease them as I often think they tease me back.

      Sparrows and Grosbeaks and a Junco

      Rose Breasted Grosbeak (Photo - Johnathan Nightingale).

      Rose Breasted Grosbeak (Photo – Johnathan Nightingale).

      Some mornings I’m greeted by a chattering of sparrows. Who is here today? As I whistle to the birds, I catch the attention of a female Grosbeak. Grosbeaks are members of the Finch family. This one is intrigued by the sounds I make. She comes closer, looks at me, and dives into the seed bowl for a snack. Her moment of solitude is interrupted by a Junco. Then, I spot a beautiful White Crowned Sparrow! These lovely creatures find welcomeness in the space of my garden, and in return they give me goodness and levity.

      Whiskered Bulbuls

      Red-whiskered bulbul (Photo - Mike's Birds).

      Red-whiskered bulbul (Photo – Mike’s Birds).

      For a brief moment, I am visited by two Red Whiskered Bulbuls. Their conversation is fascinating. I catch the attention of one and imitate a Bulbul as I hear it. They bob closer to me while in the Cassia tree, wondering who I am, trying to sound like them. Red Whiskered Bulbuls are originally from Asia and were brought here as domestic pets. Some have escaped over the years, and now we see them in our gardens.

      Lesser Goldfinches

      Lesser goldfinch (Photo - Melissa McMasters).

      Lesser goldfinch (Photo – Melissa McMasters).

      Lesser Goldfinches seem to enjoy the bright flowers in my garden, yellow and red.They go after the Cassia blossoms and the sunflowers, chewing on the leaves and sipping the nectar. Once, a Lesser Goldfinch zoomed in to sip from the bright red blossoms of a freshly trimmed pineapple sage which I held in my hands. That was a magical moment only captured by memory. Late autumn and winter are SoCal seasons for Lesser Goldfinches.

      Steller’s Jay

      Steller's Jay (Photo - Jean Sudbury).

      Steller’s Jay (Photo – Jean Sudbury).

      A late autumn-early winter visitor who fascinates me a great deal is the Steller’s Jay. Indescribably beautiful, it has a creative call that sounds almost like a coo, or a love whisper. At times, it sounds just like its Scrub Jay cousin, with its black crested head emitting an essence of royalty.

      All birds who come to my garden are welcome, even the ravens, although I try to keep them at bay. So many more birds visit throughout the year. Many are migrants, and some establish permanent residence. In their own manner, the birds watch over me.


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