I have had a wonderful bird year to date. Finally, in a bluebird box I built five years ago, I have a nesting pair of Bluebird’s with three very active chicks. I also have a lovely pair of Brown Thrashers nesting in my primrose bush guarding four eggs. And as they have for the last twelve years our Barred Owl couple have had two cute chicks who are just as fascinated with our five pound cat as previous years chicks have been. I am never sure if they see her as an easy meal or are just entertained watching her stalk chipmunks at dusk.
I live in the city, very close to our downtown but I have tried to create a habitat of large shrub covers, old oaks, feeders and water sources that encourage birds to nest and visit. Having dogs and a cat makes it difficult at times but it can also be entertaining.
One of my two dogs is a Rhodesian Ridgeback. When he stands on his hind-legs he is five feet tall just about the height of the Brown Thrasher nest in the bush. Smart guy has figured out that he can stand-up against our swing post and look mama bird right in the eye. Fortunately he can’t bother the nest but Ms. Thrasher doesn’t know that and she dive bombs him all over the yard until he retreats to the patio. He is a good looking fellow but dumb as a bag of rocks because he keeps coming back for more and she is happy to give him all he wants.
Our Barred Owls are a special urban treat. We rarely see the adults, we certainly hear them but it’s the kids that give us so much pleasure. As I type this, one is sitting in the big oak closest to the house. As he or she coos outside my window, mom and dad keep the dialogue going I assume to keep tabs on where the kids are. Late in the evening I will sit on my porch and one or both of the chicks will fly in to watch me. I don’t know much about the lifespan of an owl but I have had these wonderful creatures in my trees for twelve years, I hope they will stay for future generations to come.