May 25, 2011

The Refrigerator List : Birds, Bats, and the Occasional Beast

The old man next door, so old that his skin is almost translucent and his hands look like gnarled twigs, loves his back yard.  When he's not sitting outside on his porch, you can see his long white head watching things as he sits, drinking forbidden coffee, at his kitchen table.  An Albert Einstein haircut, a quiet smile.

A great neighbor. 

It's nice to see him roaming around early each morning, refilling his hummingbird bottles and squirrel feeders and putting out food for the feral cats.  Yes, even though we all know that that feral cat food also attracts our neighborhood raccoons and possums - when they're not dining on finds in the alley garbage cans.  (I've heard that mice and rats like this stuff, but our herd of wild Tom Cats keeps us from having that problem.) 

It's because of our neighbor that our family has found another fun experience in simple living.  We've become aware of nature in a new way.  Not from growing our own little veggies or waiting for rain, but from all the creatures that routinely come to visit our white-haired neighbor.

We've created a Refrigerator List.  Rules are you have to see something at least three times before it gets to go on the List; however, you can note sightings of which you're keeping track.  (Right now, we've seen a black bird with a yellow beak, but we're not sure what it is.)

It's got the kids on alert in the evenings after dinner and it's fun to researching some strange birds and things we've spotted (escapees from the zoo?); and we're listening in the quiet to all the small sounds that are really there in the dusk.  It's not really all that quiet, if you take the time to listen.

May 24, 2011 List

Red-shouldered Hawk (we see this guy so often we've named him Harry)
White-winged Dove
Blue Jay
Bell's Vireo songbird
Yellow-headed Verdin
Mexican Freetail Bat
Western Kingbird
Feral Cat
Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

looking at: black bird with yellow beak, white birds (big) that fly overhead in pairs, brown noisy squirrel-like animal - chipmunk?
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