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Spring Menagerie

Male Rufous Hummingbird

We had quite the menagerie in our garden yesterday.

It started out when we saw a pair of mallard ducks walking down our street. We've seen this in the past and I think it was around this time in the Spring. They just didn't seem to care much and just waddled down the center of the street. Fortunately, our street isn't too busy.

But what was really surprising is a short time later, we saw the female mallard in our backyard. Our house is next to a local pond and storm runoff area. Right outside our yard is mostly wild area and just beyond that a pond. So it is not surprising that we get a lot of wildlife. But the area directly behind our house is actually a storm runoff area and the street drain in front of our house outlets to a rocky area beyond our yard. It is good because our garage doesn't flood but bad because we don't get frogs any more. Too much street pollution. But we have always seen some interesting animals. And spring increases the occurrences since there are a lot of new babies.

Female Mallard Duck

Female Mallard Duck

It was very unusual to see a duck in the yard. She found the corn that we put out for the squirrels. She just sat down and scarfed up. She was pretty timid (or hungry) also. I walked out and put more corn out and she just walked right up to the area and started eating.

We do have several squirrels. They do drive G crazy at times because they love to dig in the garden. He had to put caging over our peas because the squirrels were starting to dig in our vegetable garden. But they are so fun to watch.

One of our local squirrels

We also have two species of hummingbirds that visit our garden. We have several Anna hummingbirds that live year round in our garden. We have lots of plants that they love in the garden such as salvias. We also have two feeders that we keep stocked with sugar mixture throughout the winter.

But recently, we've seen a new visitor to the feeders - a rufous hummingbird. These are seasonal and smaller than the Anna's. It is a male and he's been rather timid flitting around the feeders and also feeding on some of the early blooming plants such as pulmonaria. We were so distressed yesterday when he got trapped in our greenhouse. We open the hoop house where we keep our winter blooming salvias during the day. The Anna's have figured out how to get in and out of the greenhouse. But the Rufous hasn't figured it out yet. He went in and then couldn't figure out how to get out. He flew up towards the light from the sun and he didn't see the door. We turned off the fans and put some Salvias down in the doorway to temp him down so he could see how to leave. But after two hours he was still in the greenhouse - flying back and forth. We could tell he was getting tired. We finally went out and tried to get him out with two brooms. He got onto one of the brooms and we could hear him crying. He was breaking our hearts. We took him out the door and he was still on the broom. We were worried that he had impaled himself on the broom or hurt himself. But he finally took off and flew up to one of the trees. We knew he was low on energy and just hoped he would recover.

We didn't see him again yesterday. Would he be okay? I was sitting at the computer this morning and something caught my eye outside the window. He was back! He was at the feeder again. He's been back several times today drinking up and restocking. I'm so glad to see him.

Male Rufous Hummingbird

Male Rufous Hummingbird


Comments (2)

Barb Cabot:

Nature all around you...so dear...signs of Spring. We have a hummingbird feeder in our backyard. It is a thrill when they come by to feed.

What a wonderful post! That hummingbird was so lucky to have both of you to look after it. I love the photos! Especially the squirrel since I grew up seeing squirrels and miss them (even though they can be a pain in the butt). No squirrels in Hawaii. The kids here don't even know what they are since there is not Rocky and Bullwinkle on TV anymore :) I am going to show my kids at school your squirrel photo.

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