Thursdays with Jake. Going to the birds!

So every year a pair of mated Towhees builds a nest in one of our trees and has two sets of babies– two babies in the early spring and two babies in mid-summer.  I don’t know if these are the same two Towhees or simply generations of Towhees that were born here and return to our yard to build their nest.



In any case, the pair, sometimes two pair, over-winter and build a nest.  And every spring one of the babies inevitably falls out of the nest and the dog finds it.  He or she- as in Rosie’s case when we had Rosie- finds the baby and alerts me by barking and by standing over the baby bird with the parent birds flying around his head chirping like mad.  Jake just experienced his first baby bird. Now he’s spending whatever free time he has beneath the redwoods searching for another one.

Every spring I try to catch the fluttering baby.  If I do manage to catch it, it goes back into the tree.  If it’s too young to stay in the tree it gets a ride to Birdie Rescue.  If I can’t catch it, well, nature can be pretty indifferent.  In this particular case the baby could flutter but not fly.  It managed to flutter out of my reach.  I’m not sure where it ended up… I think in the neighbor’s yard, but its sibling stayed in the tree and he or she is doing well.

Usually the Towhees manage to raise at least one baby from each fledging (?) fledgement (?) to adulthood and that baby sticks around to help with the next set of babies.

I like Towhees.  They are plain, friendly birds, kind of like the Amish of the bird world.  They’re always with me when I work in my garden.  Noisy though.  Up at 4:45 a.m.  Again, the Amish of the bird world.

Our weekly bird count:

Wild turkeys.  Saw a big flock while hiking.  I can understand why people decided we should eat turkeys.  They are very fat birds.

Wild Turkeys.

Wild Turkeys.

A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers.  They are the size of hawks and they make this prehistoric bird call.  So Jurassic Park-ish.

Pileated Woodpecker.

Pileated Woodpecker.

The Grosbeaks are back at the park.



We arrived early one morning and ran into…

Owl!  Cool, huh!

Owl! Cool, huh!

And we found this in our backyard–



He’s from a non-native (obviously) flock set free in our area over 40 years ago.  They thrive here.  Noisy suckers.

We also have two pairs of robins, a pair of mourning doves, and a pair of bossy blue jays living in our yard.  I do love spring and babies!

So other than a dead baby possum – which had its throat ripped out, probably by a bobcat who probably ate the parent possum and any other baby possums – these are our wildlife sightings for this week.

Jake continues his hunt for the mountain lion.  Look what he did– snagged a rear claw climbing a cliff.  The vet removed the nail.  I have to do a better job of protecting this dog from himself!  Tom Stronach is gonna yell at me…

In his den, sad boy.

In his den, sad boy.

Can anyone identify these flowers?  They volunteered in one of my herb beds.  I have no idea what they are.  Our resident botanist– Penny?  They have a light lavender colored petal with yellow stamens or pistons and long, spiky dark green leaves.  They open from little green buds every morning and close at night.

Lavender-colored flowers. View One.

Lavender-colored flowers. View One.

Lavender-colored flowers.  View Two.

Lavender-colored flowers. View Two.

P.S.  Hubby reminded me about the peregrine falcon.  Flew right past us last Saturday.





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26 Responses to Thursdays with Jake. Going to the birds!

  1. Tom Stronach says:

    Damn right I’m gonna yell at you was in fine mood and smiling at all the news of the birds, yeah we have some noisy buggers here, but the parakeets seem to have forsaken Ockendon for pastures new at the moment, new ours cat continues to be outsmarted by the squirrels, and all that came to me as I read ……

    And then we got to Jake and my reading was dirt acted by WTF is Jules doing publishing a photo of Jake’s big pink distended willie on display on the floor looking forlorn as he was ready but there was no lady friends to use it on WTF is Jules doing, and then I read the rest of the sentence, Phew, just phew

    And stay away from bloody mountain lions, the pair of you


  2. Tom Stronach says:

    New ours = neighbours

  3. Tom Stronach says:

    Dirt acted = distracted

    I hate this f*****g thing

  4. Amber Skyze says:

    When we were in NY for Easter I had the pleasure of watching a woodpecker at work. I’ve heard them in the distance many times when I lived there, but to see one was cool.
    Boy they can make huge holes. lol

    Poor Jake. He looks so sad. Hope he feels better soon.

  5. Spiderwort. Transcantia (sp). very effing invasive. Tom, same thought — “That’s not,” I said. “No. it can’t be. And why would she be taking a photo of it?”

  6. Katalina Leon says:

    We’ve been mobbed my hummingbirds and Orioles. If I leave my back door open those little Towhees are so bold they just walk into my house, dog and all, and have a look around. One walked up to my husband, stared at him working on the computer, turned and left. We burst out laughing.
    I hate to see Jake sad. Poor boy : (

  7. I’m no help with the flowers, but they’re pretty. That probably means they are a pest. I love the birds. We finally identified the gray bird hunting over our hay field. It’s an adult male Harrier. So pretty and so different from the Red Tail Hawks. The Sandhill Cranes are also back.

  8. Jaye says:

    Right now we’ve got masses of bluebirds and juncos. I think the bluebirds are trying to get their fill of bugs before the bluejays return to squabble with the Steller’s jays over nesting privileges. We don’t have those big pileated woodpeckers. We have little hairy woodpeckers and big flickers, both noisy as all get out.

    Tell Jake, I understand. Cats (of all sizes) have attitudes and need to be taught their place. Poor baby. Owies are never any fun.

  9. Oooh, owies are no fun, Jaye! Lots of bluebirds, juncos and woodpeckers of all varieties but they tend to stay either in the open areas or wooded areas, not so much in our yards. I love flickers. So fat and vocal!

  10. Definitely a volunteer, Stephanie. We have the Harrier hawks here too, and the enormous red tail hawks. The Harrier’s are really cool. Where do your Sandhill Cranes go in the winter? The California Sandhill Cranes winter here then head to Montana in the spring.

  11. Thank you, Penny and thanks, Stephanie! So do I leave it or pull it out? I think it’s pretty.

  12. Thanks Penny and Stephanie! I think I’ll leave it. Lovely flower.

  13. Thanks Kat… Jake is better today. I saw a green hummingbird up in our redwoods this morning. Hope he’ll stick around. The Towhees do that! They’ve walked right into our house too, through the back door. They look around and then depart. It’s very funny!

  14. You and Tom, Stephanie! You stinkers! As if!

  15. Oh wow, Amber, the Pileated can destroy an entire tree. They are like jack hammers!

  16. Yes, Tom. I’ll forgive you. But your mind does work in interesting ways…

  17. Hey, Tom, Jake treed a squirrel this morning and then the sucker jumped from the tree onto Jake’s back and scampered away, laughing all the while I’m sure.

  18. Fell about laughing at Tom’s comments. Specially those last two. But yes, messing with mountain lions is not a good idea. I suspect Jake would lose. And I wouldn’t like that.

    Love all the birds (of course). Very exotic to my Aussie ears. Except the peacocks. Noisy bloody things.

  19. So did my husband, Greta. That Tom… Your birds are very exotic to our eyes. You have the prettiest birds.

  20. Julia, your yard is a cultural aviary–fancy stutters, plain-dressed birds of faith, high fliers and wise hooters–no wonder Jake has to get wounded. He’s like the child who has to take risks to get attention. Poor guy. Make him a feather headdress and see if that lifts his spirits.
    I love the stories about Life With Jake. I’d read them to Maggie, but we don’t want to give her any ideas…

  21. Thanks, Marylin. It is a busy yard. Actually poor Jake because he ran around too much today and his toe is sore. Nah, you don’t want to give Maggie any of his crazy notions!

  22. Ray Plasse says:

    Julia! This blog post was really for the birds!!!! :)

  23. Totally, Ray! Have a great day!

  24. Ray Plasse says:

    Happy Mothers Day Julia!