Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Native trees attract native birds

The City of Alameda planted trees out front of the house years ago. I love mine for the same reason my neighbor hates hers: they make thousands of flowers for the bees to come to, and then thousands of berries which attract birds. There's always quite a mess on the sidewalk. These trees grow brilliantly although we pretty much ignore them, so I suspect they are California natives.

My other clue is that Waxwings come through and strip about half the berries off the trees. They could be Bohemian Waxwings, but it's far more likely they are Cedar Waxwings. As an artist, I get a real kick out of their tailfeathers: it looks like someone dipped them in a very shallow tray of lime green paint!

They're very gregarious and feed in a flock, singing to each other. They seem to come through just once a year. I really welcome their appearance, since I'm usually faced with invasive species such as the Starling and their awful, demanding chirp.

I'm very in favor of restoring habitat so that native songbirds have more opportunity to compete with weed species. With some clever planning, it seems like urban environments could be very welcoming to native species (while still providing what people need from a city).

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