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
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
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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