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Birdwatching

     Bird Watching
  PondStuff! Monthly Pond & Water Gardening Newsletter

Bird Watching In A Water Garden


My entire world changed when water was introduced to my garden.  With the very first water feature, a simple bird bath, the scenery and sounds changed.  I was being serenaded by small birds and large.  I bought a bird handbook or two for North American birds.  But when I continued to upgrade the water features, pond after pond, until we arrived at the beautiful 6,000-gallon koi pond today, nobody in my area has ever experienced such natural habitat as we are enjoying now.

I remember my excitement at spotting the tiny olive-yellow colored bird at the stream. I couldnít decide whether it was a Nashville Warbler or Northern Parula, as it was really small and quick, but decided it was the warbler upon closer examination, but it has remained and brought its family years later. 

Aside from the usual sparrows, I found out there are about a hundred different varieties at the birdfeeder that arenít just ďsparrows,Ē many just passing through every year.  In winter, this is the only water that is not frozen solid so my pond has become a hot spot for entertaining the birds.  More of the regulars are Robins, Cardinals, Purple Finches, Juncos, European Starlings and Northern Flickers.  Remember?  The pond doesnít stop at the waterís edge.

In recent years the Red-Wing Blackbird has made reappearance.  It used to be a regular yard visitor when this was undeveloped land, but that was many years ago.  The birds made their way to Jones Beach and seldom come inland anymore. It was quite an accomplishment to lure one to my home again.  I still miss the Eastern Meadowlark and pheasant, but they are gone forever.

Blue Jays donít seem to be drawn to the water so they arenít the bullies here, and I am pleased with their decision.  I have my share of new bullies.  I have the wonderful Gray Catbird nesting in my taxus hedge every year. 

  

And the Mockingbird is very close by.  Both are seriously territorial birds.  Iím lucky they allow me in the yard.  But they make up for their bullying by their entertaining antics and beautiful song.  I never had their company before.

Since I planted trumpet vine to hide the garage Iíve been treated to small brown-colored hummingbirds from time to time.  I always heard there were hummingbirds on Long Island, but I didnít really believe it. 

I canít say I was happy to find a Great Blue Heron in my yard, and was equally dismayed by the amazingly beautiful White Egret as they fished for my koi. 

But,  then this year I was surprised to find a Magnolia Warbler and Northern Oriole stopped by!  My, word is really getting aroundÖ

by Carolyn Weise

 

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