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Bird watching goes both ways (altaonline.com)
93 points by breathenew 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 26 comments

> despite the constant “plant native species” drumbeat from wildlife advocates, hawks don’t really appear to prefer them

Raptors might not have a preference, but pollinators do, and in the US that counts for a lot. Planting native species gives native pollinators a better chance against their more generalist invasive cousins, the European honey bee (A. mellifera) and paper wasp (P. dominula).

It's a good idea to do that, too, since there are a lot of species which native pollinators can pollinate, but invasive pollinators can't, which means these plants rely on native pollinators to reproduce. More than that, some native insects are closely enough coevolved with native plants that, in the absence of the latter, the former fail to thrive or die out entirely - monarch butterflies, for example, are struggling for this very reason.

Audubon's native plant finder is a good place to start - the email address is optional, all it requires is your ZIP code. https://www.audubon.org/native-plants

That said, being from Audubon, it's focused around serving bird species, rather than insects. For insects specifically, look to the Xerces Society, which is a conservation society parallel to Audubon but interested in invertebrates: https://xerces.org/publications/plant-lists

That does seems like kind of a strange thing to say. Raptors may not sit in the native trees but they certainly depend on the food chain below them that needs the natives.

Doug Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home makes a convincing case for the importance of native plants to healthy ecosystems. (Hint: it's the insects.)

Two things to watch out for in planting.

A strong reason to favor native cultivars is that the bred versions are bred for their appearance to humans. They are often sterile and devoid of nutrition or not attractive to the pollinaotrs, perhaps not quite as bad as paving the lot, but not a lot better.

Be very careful of the use of systemic pesticides. They are great (for some values of 'great') for keeping the nursery plants free of insect damage. They also reliably kill the insects that we want (i.e., NEED) to foster. Best option is grow your own from seed, or find nurseries that do not use systemic or persistent pesticides.

And yes - go to Xerces society to learn a LOT more!

About a year ago I moved into a house with an astonishing amount of bird activity (for a city, in my experience). And it’s definitely caught my attention how much they pay to me.

Seattle is apparently known for its crows, and of course I’ve had plenty around. They’re very attentive to my dog walks and have shown a mutual respect because I always instruct pup not to chase them like she would other birbs.

I’ve also had a few visits by their corvid cousins, Steller’s Jays. One of whom perched under my roof, looked over my curtains and took a somewhat unnerving interest in me having a bit of private time.

This morning I was escorted by maybe 50 robins to the store, rooting around on the ground ahead of me then flocking together a few yards at a time as I caught up.

I’ve been visited by 1-10s of hummingbirds most days, and they hang out much longer if my attention is on them than on anything else.

A couple northern flickers have come to hop around and seemed to love posing for a camera. But I had a falcon come perch on my neighbor’s fence about 10ft from me, who stayed comfortably there as I turned to gawk until I tried to get a photo. That’s a lot more common: almost all the birds I see bail the moment I look like I’m pointing a lens (and I’d imagine they’d react the same if I’d pointed anything).

Lots of other birbs come by, and I’m sad I don’t know what the heck they all are. But they almost always have at least a cautious awareness of me, flying or flocking around if they see even a tiny motion on my end.

Less interactive, but I also see a regular flock of seagulls in the morning a couple blocks downhill, and twice in the last couple weeks seen a bald eagle fly by, once directly over my house.

I’m not gonna get to stay here much longer because there’s problems with the house and the owners plan to develop the property. But I’m gonna have this year of bird life to hold onto by memory forever and it’s really special.

If you want to try for more interactivity, keep an eye out for Chestnut-backed Chickadees [1]. They are pretty common in the Puget Sound area.

I've found that those little guys will land on my hand for food [2]. They are the only bird species that has done that for me.

[1] https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Chestnut-backed_Chickade...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShPgZhSbxU0

Oh I didn’t know what they were but I get a ton of them! They’ve come in the dozens to zip around my yard and look for morsels. They definitely seem comfortable around me. I’ll try to keep something around for them. That’s so cool thank you!

The house I moved into a couple years ago has woods and a stream behind it. The amount of birds I see is incredible. I put a few feeders out and I could probably see 100 birds in a day. My favorite is a pair of Carolina Wrens that forage around.

My toddler noticed a Northern Flicker the other day and it’s the first time I’ve seen one. We have at least 4 species of wood peckers that also stop by. There’s also a pair of red tail hawks that live close by. The female is huge.

How do you get crows to come close? They visit my woods but the trees are very high and they never come down.

I don’t really go out of my way to get the crows to come close. They do if they want to, sometimes I’ve left something out that they can get before I get it to compost. Mostly I just show them respect and they do seem to recognize it. They see me walk pup around them if they’re rooting around nearby, and they give us space if they see we don’t have an easy way around.

If you do want to make friends, a buddy of mine has done really well leaving unsalted peanuts in shells.

We have a large population of black-headed juncos (sparrow family) in our Seattle yard. Also Black-capped chickadees, Towhees and nuthatches. The nuthatches are very streamlined and fly so quickly among branches without collision it seems miraculous.

They all pay pretty close attention to us when we are out in the yard. The juncos in particular, probably because they like to build nests directly in my garden and I respond by giving them mealworms when their chicks hatch.

[edited for typo]

thanks for sharing this - brought back some nice memories for me

Where I live in Germany, rock climbing is heavily restricted during nesting season. It's a shame that those birds were disturbed, I hope they found a different soaked place.

i've got to wonder if the person who wrote this headline is aware of the satirical conspiracy theory:



My god I almost fell of my chair laughing!

>Recent studies show that 87% of Bird Poop in populated areas falls on people’s cars. Why is this? Confidential documents leaked in 2018 revealing that “Bird Poop” is actually a form of liquidated tracking apparatus. If you walk outside and notice some bird poop just “happened” to fall on your car, be aware that you are now being tracked by the United States Government

It's not a satirical conspiracy theory. It's a clothing company built around a joke that they wish to make viral

Oh hey, I own that shirt!

I get Cooper’s hawks at my bird feeders (eating the birds) sometimes and they are very perceptive. They can tell when I am watching them through the window and they get nervous and fly away.

New activity: let's go get watched by birds.

“My” flock of rainbow lorikeets, flock of sulphur crested cockatoos (with some corellas and galahs mixed in), and the ten (10!) baby and adolescent brush turkeys (and their father Doug) have watching me and my girlfriend locked down already! All in inner city Brisbane.

I’m spoiled that my backyard backs onto a patch of undeveloped scrubland. Baby brush turkeys are the cutest things in the world, and getting them out of my yard is cute, fun, annoying and quite silly!

Oh and never mind the Koels, Australian magpies, the butcher bird who’s claimed my roof as his territory and teaches his young to fly by zooming around my building as fast as they can go, and last but not least the dozens of noisy miners :)

Actually, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that animals in zoos enjoy watching the visitors, and that they miss that terribly during the pandemic.

If you gaze long onto the birds, the birds gaze also onto thee.

I wonder what the birds around the house think of my tastes in music.

No need to go anywhere, they’re watching you right now


So, it’s not only in Soviet Russia where birds watch you?

When I do yoga on my back deck, hummingbirds always come over and check me out. They're curious and bold! I think they recognize people but am not sure.

I've gotten to the point where I can tell the Anna from the Allen and have named the most bold and curious one Rufus. His ladyfriend being Chaka Khan.

Their mating dance is incredibly impressive- flys wayyyy up high above the ridge and then dive bombs strait to they ground and swoops up right before getting crushed. He does loud showy chirps at the top too to call attention to his aeronautical wonderbird prowess.

There's a lot of text here, not easy to identify the new content.

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