I think of our backyard as a little ecosystem, but like most such ecosystems in our 21st century world, it’s impossible to think about them without understanding the effects of human interventions, both accidental and intentional.
We’ve got a pond, a metal stock tank Lissa gave me for my 40th birthday. Cattails found their way into it, and the birds love to drink from it. Adding water is critical to the desert ecosystem thing. I’ve been experimenting with different bird feeding strategies, and this month added a seed block and some peanut suet, along with a new and improved thistle seed feeder designed to encourage the goldfinches and thwart the house finches and sparrows.
The goldfinches are coming around, and the pair of neighborhood ladderbacked woodpeckers seem to have taken to the seed block. But the real surprise is the bewick’s wren, which seems to have moved in and made itself at home. It’s a drab little bird with a quick, energetic style, able to move around at the fringes of the bird mob that descends every morning when I put out the seed. Click through for January’s Heineman-Fleck house bird list.
Data via eBird, number is the percentage of observations in which each bird was seem. (the junco is over 100 percent because of the way eBird counts the multiple variants)