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The new nest

 Nesting was a scramble in our yard this spring. The hedge has white-crowned sparrows, robins, towhees and wrens. The house that is supposed to be for wrens has chickadees and of course, the flicker box is inhabited by the wily starlings. There is another robins’ nest around the back. The sharp shinned hawks are, as usual in the Smiths’ firs. A pair of crows inhabit the huge shrub across the road. If a raven comes around, crows send out a call and the predator is quickly driven off by half a dozen pals. If a crow gets too close, the robins go into a frenzy and attack it. The marauding black squirrels are chased from the yard by starlings and robins. When the fat, lazy cat rolls around on the grass, the still leafless ginkgo tree is festooned with white-crowns, towhees and robins all chipping and squawking alarm. She does have some history with them and they are right to be concerned.

The trilliums put on a wonderful display this year. The deer laid off the tulips and bluebells for the first time in many years. I had forgotten what colours the tulips were. Lilacs and viburnum scented the yard and rabbits chased each others tails. The neighbours’ double cherries were spectacular. Just as the crabapple was starting to show colour, we packed up and left our huge beautiful park and moved to a tiny fenced back yard of dirt and rock. After 30 years, it was hard but it was time.

The only living thing in our new yard is a very old cherry tree. I set up the bird bath underneath it. The first day a flock of about 40 cedar waxwings sat in the tree and took turns having a drink.

This was a real treat. We haven’t seen these for years. Sleek crested birds, slightly smaller that a robin, a tan shade with yellow belly, white on the tail underside and yellow on the tip of the tail. They sport an elegant black mask and a shiny black throat on the males. The wings have flashes of white and red…very cool looking bird. They are primarily berry eaters and nest late to take advantage of ripening fruit. They range from coast to coast and fromAlaskato centralCalifornia.

The apple tree next door has gold finches nesting and the huge cedar on the other side has hummingbirds, somewhere; can’t see the nest. There are a couple of English sparrow families around the front. A stellar jay visited the bath and I have seen a flicker spooking around. I’m sure there will be lots more to discover. Our yard may be bare but we are in an old established neighbourhood that is bird paradise. I’ll miss the deer…sort of. I’m sure the coons and rabbits will be around. By next year, the dirt patch will, hopefully pass muster and fit in with our spectacular surroundings.

The first day here, the fat cat killed a mouse and the sparrows are giving her a hard time.  

Cedar waxwing. Photo: Rob Pinkerton

About the author: Rob Pinkerton

Rob Pinkerton

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