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Bird gardens 2015-notes

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Note-format slides for 'Bounty of Birds' talk on bird habitat gardening in S. California.

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Bird gardens 2015-notes

  1. 1. 3/7/2015 1 © Project SOUND Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden Gardening with California Native Plants in Western L.A. County Project SOUND – 2015 (our 11th year) © Project SOUND A Bounty of Birds: common garden birds & how to attract them C.M. Vadheim and T. Drake CSUDH & Madrona Marsh Preserve Madrona Marsh Preserve March 7 & 12, 2015 Migrants are a treat  Black-headed grosbeaks (related to the Cardinal) stops by local feeders during fall or spring migration © Project SOUND Black-headed Grosbeak We’re not going to talk about hummingbirds today  See previous hummingbird gardening talks  August, 2014  May, 2009 © Project SOUND Click on the ‘Out of the Wilds’ page on Mother Nature’s Backyard Blog for all lectures back to 2009
  2. 2. 3/7/2015 2 But we are going to talk about some other common garden birds in the South Bay  Who they are; what they look like  When you can expect to see them  Behavioral characteristics  What they eat; niches  Where they nest  Simple things you can do to attract them to your garden © Project SOUND 2015: Sustainable Living with California Native Plants © Project SOUND Ecosystem: a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system. © Project SOUND Your garden is a little ecosystem What we are trying to achieve: a healthy garden ecosystem © Project SOUND How bird-friendly is your garden ecosystem?  Excellent  Good  Fair  Poor How do the common birds rate your garden as habitat?
  3. 3. 3/7/2015 3 © Project SOUND To attract birds we need to understand their habits & preferences © Project SOUND Like butterflies, some birds are ‘picky eaters’  Generalists  Eat many different kinds of food – whatever is available  Well-adapted to different – and changing – environments  Often are common in urban & suburban yards – that’s why many people know them by name  Examples: Crows, Scrub Jays, Robins http://www.uoguelph.ca/arboretum/WildlifeSightings/WildlifesightNovember06.htm © Project SOUND Like butterflies, some birds are ‘picky eaters’  Specialists  Eat selected kinds of foods – at least primarily  Raptors – meat-eaters  Insect-eaters  Fruit-eaters  Seed-eaters  Often very well adapted to a specific environment – have ‘developed together over time’  Often are less common in urban & suburban yards  Examples: Lesser Gold Finch, CA Towhee, Orioles, Tanagers http://www.calacademy.org/teachers/lounge/?p=624 CA Towhee Audubon’s Warbler http://thebirdguide.com/washington/BigDayReport2007.htm Passerine birds: Order Passeriformes  AKA the ‘perching birds  Over ½ of bird species are in this Order  At least 50 million years old  Have feet specialized for perching:  Three toes facing front; one toe facing back  A tendon from the rear of the leg to the toes automatically causes the foot to curl and become stiff when the bird lands on a branch.  This also enables passerines to sleep while perching without falling off. © Project SOUND Most have 12 tail feathers which help balance when perched http://www.birdsofseabrookisland.org/images/norton-pics/topo-x.jpg
  4. 4. 3/7/2015 4 The Finches – Family Fringillidae  Passerine birds – ‘perching birds’  Mostly from Northern Hemisphere  Mostly seed-eating songbirds – often also eat some insects & berries  Most exhibit sexual dimorphism; breeding males may be brightly colored © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Form follows function http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b4/BirdBeaksA.svg/220px-BirdBeaksA.svg.png http://www.nps.gov/prsf/naturescience/images/black-phoebe.jpg http://www.nps.gov/prsf/naturescience/images/crow.jpg © Project SOUND SHAPE TYPE ADAPTATION Cracker Seed eaters like sparrows and finches have short, thick conical bills for cracking seed. Shredder Birds of prey like hawks and owls have sharp, curved bills for tearing meat. Chisel Woodpeckers have bills that are long and chisel- like for boring into wood to eat insects. Probe Hummingbird bills are long and slender for probing flowers for nectar. Tweezer Insect eaters like warblers have thin, pointed bills. Swiss Army Knife Crows have a multi-purpose bill that allows them to eat fruit, seeds, insects, fish, and other animals. http://science.wannajava.net/scienceunits/units/current/01Bird_Feet_and_Beak_Adaptations.pdf © Project SOUND House finch - Haemorhous mexicanus http://www.wilddelight.com/birds/house-finch/
  5. 5. 3/7/2015 5 House finch - Haemorhous mexicanus  Size: moderately-sized finch - 12.5 to 15 cm (4.9 to 5.9 in)  Identifying characteristics:  Common on feeders  Adults:  Long, square-tipped brown tail  Brown or dull-brown color across the back with some shading into deep gray on the wing feathers.  Breast/belly may be streaked; the flanks usually are.  Adult males: heads, necks and shoulders are reddish.  Song: rapid, cheery warble or a variety of chirps, often ending on a higher note © Project SOUND http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Car podacus_mexicanus_-Madison,_Wisconsin,_USA-8.jpg http://www.nps.gov/prsf/naturescience/images/house-finch.jpg House finch - Haemorhous mexicanus  Male coloration varies in intensity with the seasons  Coloration is obtained from carotenoid pigments in the berries and fruits in its diet – the birds cannot make these pigments themselves, but convert them to the red pigment Canthaxanthin.  The colors range from pale straw- yellow through bright orange (both rare) to deep, intense red.  Most that we see locally are red to orange-red © Project SOUND http://www.cod.edu/people/faculty/chenpe/DANADA/ https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2302/2216977106_6fc84a1521.jpg House finch - Haemorhous mexicanus  Range:  Original range: Mexico and SW U.S.  Now most places in U.S.  When in our area: year-round  Habitat:  Urban/suburban places  Native range/natural habitats : dry desert, desert grassland, chaparral, oak savannah, streamsides, and open coniferous forests at elevations below 6,000 feet.  Conservation status: common/invasive © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_finch#mediaviewer/File:Carpodacus_mexic anus_map_history1.svg House finches eat seeds & fruits  House Finches eat almost exclusively plant materials, including seeds, buds and fruits.  Wild foods: wild mustard seeds, knotweed, thistle, mulberry, poison oak, cactus, and many other species.  In orchards: cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, blackberries, and figs.  At feeders: black oil sunflower (over the larger, striped sunflower seeds), millet, nijer and milo – typical bird seed mixture © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_finch#mediaviewer/ File:Father_House_finch_feeds_baby.jpg
  6. 6. 3/7/2015 6 House finches are opportunistic nesters  In nature:  Nest in a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees  On cactus and rock ledges.  In urban settings  In or on buildings, using vents, ledges, rain gutters, street lamps/traffic lights  Also in climbing ivy and hanging planters.  Occasionally use the abandoned nests of other birds. © Project SOUND http://blog.naturetastic.com/2014/05/house-finch-carpodacus-mexicanus-nest.html Goldfinches - the genus Spinus © Project SOUND American goldfinch – Spinus (Carduelis) tristus  Size: small - 11–14 cm (4.3–5.5 in) long  Identifying characteristics:  short, conical bill on small, head  long wings  short, notched tail  Adult males (spring/summer) bright yellow with black forehead, black wings with white markings, and white patches above & beneath the tail.  Adult females are duller yellow beneath, olive above.  Winter birds are drab, unstreaked brown, with blackish wings and two pale wingbars. © Project SOUND http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/PHOTO/LARGE/ame rican_goldfinch_glamour12.jpg http://tgreybirds.com/AmericanGoldfinch26.jpg Telling the goldfinches apart  American Goldfinch  Slightly larger  Males: black ‘half-cap’  Yellow back  Tail has more white  Pink bill; pinkish legs/feet  Lesser Goldfinch  Males: completely black cap  Dull green/gray back  Dark tail  Darker gray beak © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_goldfinch#mediaviewer/File:Carduelis- tristis-001.jpg
  7. 7. 3/7/2015 7 Lesser Goldfinch – Spinus (Carduelis) psaltria  Size: tiny (smallest true finch) - 9 to 12 cm (3.5 to 4.7 in)  Identifying characteristics:  Stubby bill – gray  Long, pointed wings; short, notched tails  Males:  bright yellow below with a glossy black cap and white patches in the wings;  Backs can be glossy black or dull green (particularly on the West Coast).  Black tail with large, white corners.  Females and immatures:  Olive backs, dull yellow underparts,  Black wings with two whitish wingbars. © Project SOUND http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carduelis_psaltria_fe male.jpg Lesser Goldfinch – Spinus psaltria  Range: SW U.S., Mexico to parts of northern S. America  When in our area: year-round if near natural areas – short-distance migration in spring/fall  Habitat:  Open fields, budding treetops, and the brush of open areas and edges.  May concentrate in mountain canyons and desert oases  Fairly common in suburbs.  Conservation status: not rare; may be increasing numbers © Project SOUNDhttp://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Lesser_Goldfinch/id Lesser goldfinch: primarily eats seeds  Eats mostly small seeds and grains, both in wilds and at bird feeders.  Usually gets seeds that are still on the plant. Its long legs and claws help it easily perch on plants.  Also eat coffeeberry, elderberry, and madrone fruits; buds of cottonwoods, alders, sycamores, willows, and oaks.  Feed in small groups, moving through plants to get to the seeds, buds, flowers or fruits.  Don't nest until mid-to late summer when there are lots of seeds available. © Project SOUND Goldfinches: active & gregarious © Project SOUND  A quick little bird, constantly hovering about and jerking its tail while feeding.  Dipping, bouncy flight like the American Goldfinch.  Gregarious, forming large flocks at feeding sites and watering holes. Sometimes mixed flocks with other songbirds in wild.  Easy to attract with nyjer seed in a feeding sock - to protect Goldfinches from contagious diseases, keep the ground under feeders well-raked.
  8. 8. 3/7/2015 8 Best bets for goldfinches: Sunflowers  Cobwebby thistle – Cirsium occidentales  CA bush sunflower – Encelia californica  Bracted gumplant - Grindelia camporum  Coastal gumplant - Grindelia hirsutula  Sawtooth Goldenbush - Hazardia squarrosa  Sneeze plant/Rosilla - Helenium puberulum  Annual sunflower – Helianthus annuus  Coast goldenbush - Isocoma menziesii  Goldfields – Lasthena spp  Tidytips - Layia platyglossa  Goldenrods – Solidago , Euthamia spp.  Hooker’s evening primrose – Oenothera elata ssp. hookeri © Project SOUND Annual (Common) Sunflower - Helianthus annuus Managing annual sunflowers  Easy to grow  Like well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil  Full sun  Average to little water – don’t over-water  Tall – may require support  Will readily re-seed (if the birds don’t take all the seeds) Birds are attracted by the flocks in fall…  Bird species include:  American Goldfinch  Lesser goldfinch  Dove  Sparrow  And many, many more  Small animals also eat the seeds  Ground squirrels  Pocket mice  Many others
  9. 9. 3/7/2015 9 Grow Annual Sunflower from seed  Easy to grow  Little seedlings transplant easily – or plant seed in the ground  Sow seed every three weeks for a succession of flowers throughout the summer Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database Consider choosing season-spanning sunflowers for year-round food Winter-spring  Encelias – Bush sunflowers  Mulefat  Grindelias - Gumplants  Annual wildflowers:  Gold fields  Tidytips Summer-fall  Annual Sunflowers  Rosilla (Helenium)  Telegraph plant  Goldenrods  Goldenbushes  Coyote bush © Project SOUND Hutchinsonian niche  Hutchinsonian niche: an n- dimensional hypervolume of conditions and resources  Fundamental niche: what an organism's niche would be in the absence of competition from other species.  Realized niche: The niche that a species actually inhabits, taking into account interspecific competition  How would you define the niche of the Lesser Goldfinch? © Project SOUND http://science.kennesaw.edu/~jdirnber/ecology/Lecture/LecComEcol/LecComEcolCom p/LecCommEcolComp.html © Project SOUND What every bird needs: the basics  Food  Shelter  Water http://aquafornia.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/garden-tour-2.jpg
  10. 10. 3/7/2015 10 But what happens when several bird species use the same food source? © Project SOUND Sometimes they share resources: resource partitioning  Definition: two species dividing a niche to avoid competition  Spatial partitioning: two competing species use the same resource by occupying different areas or habitats  Example: two species of birds utilizing sunflower seeds  One harvesting seeds from the plants [Goldfinches]  Another foraging the seeds from the ground [Doves] © Project SOUND Ways to Create Multiple Niches in the same Habitat  Temporal: noctural vs. diurnal animals, owls and hawks each feed on rodents but at different times  Spatial: Warbler example, use different spaces within a habitat (even the same tree)  Functional: Extract different resources, woodpeckers eat insects, finches eat nuts © Project SOUND http://nre509.wikidot.com/niche-and-resource-utilization Pigeons & Doves: Order: Columbiformes; Family: Columbidae  ~ 310 species worldwide; most species in SE Asia, Australia  Stout bodies, short necks, and short, slender bills  Feed on seeds, fruits, and plants  Young are called ‘squabs’  Both parents feed squabs with ‘crop milk’ © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_collared_dove Eurasian Collared Dove – non-native species seen in S.California
  11. 11. 3/7/2015 11 Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura © Project SOUND Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura  Size: medium (12 inches long)  Identifying characteristics:  Plump-bodied and long-tailed, with short, pink legs  Small bill; dark eyes; head looks small in comparison to the body  Delicate brown to buffy-tan overall, with black spots on the wings and black-bordered white tips to the tail feathers.  Well-camouflaged  Call: hoo-HOO-hoo-hoo  Wings make sharp whistling sound when stake off © Project SOUND Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura  Range: central Canada through Central America  When in our area: year-round; migratory in some parts of U.S.  Habitat:  Open fields  Backyards with open places and taller cover  Conservation status:  Common (the most common game bird); numbers have declined slightly since 1996 in the West.  High mortality - to 58% a year for adults and 69% for the young.[ © Project SOUND http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/mourning_dove/lifehistory Mourning Dove: Mostly seed-eaters  Seeds make up 99% of diet  Eat roughly 12 to 20 percent of their body weight per day  Swallow grit (fine gravel or sand) to assist with digestion  Like bigger seeds: lupines, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, cultivated grains, buckwheat and even peanuts, as well as wild grasses, weeds, herbs, and occasionally berries. They sometimes eat snails and insects.  They may act as seed dispersers for certain fruiting plants that they feed upon. © Project SOUND
  12. 12. 3/7/2015 12 Observing doves in your yard  Natural feeding/behavior:  Forage seeds on the ground (peck like a chicken) – fill their crop, then fly to safe perch to digest the meal  Males have favorite cooing perches  Will water bathe and dust-bathe  Also sun- or rain-bathe – stretch out wing for minutes at time  At feeders:  Will feed at platform feeders  Very cautious; easy to scare  Strong fast flyer - capable of speeds up to 55 mph. © Project SOUND Nesting in your yard  Typically nests amid dense foliage on the branch of an evergreen, orchard tree, mesquite, cottonwood, or mature vine.  Also quite commonly nests on the ground, particularly in the West.  May even nest in gutters, eaves, or abandoned equipment.  Both parents incubate and care for the young – up to 6 broods a year (2 squabs per brood)  Tips on building a nesting cone on Cornell Ornithology Labs ‘All About Birds’ © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mourning_dove Best bets for Doves  Annual sunflowers, Encelias  Lupines  Buckwheats  Crotons  Euphorbs  Ragweed  Grasses & sedges  Rhamnus  Rhus trilobata  Roosting/nesting cover: coniferous and deciduous trees, brushy thickets, dead snags. Hedgerows and shelterbelts also provide excellent roosting sites for mourning doves.  Fresh surface water in puddles, ponds, or streams © Project SOUND Like open feeding areas – bare ground How does the Dove niche differ from that of the finches? © Project SOUND
  13. 13. 3/7/2015 13 Succulent Lupine - Lupinus succulentis © Project SOUND Truncated/Collared Annual Lupine – Lupinus truncatus © Project SOUND Truncated Lupine is a small/mid-size lupine  Size:  1-2 ft tall & wide (usually ~ 1 ft)  Growth form:  Somewhat conical – kind of like a pine tree  Foliage:  Typical lupine gray-green  Typical lupine leaves – but with trucated leaflets (hence its common name)  Roots:  Tap-root; best if seeded in ground  Like all lupines, have symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria © Project SOUND Truncated Lupine – lovely flowers  Blooms: usually March-April in S. Bay  Flowers:  Sparsely distributed on spike well-above foliage  Color: violet-purple to magenta; becomes darker after pollination  Fragrant  Pollinated usually be larger bees  Seeds:  Relatively large; mottled brown  In hairy pods that break apart explosively, flinging the seeds  Eaten by doves, quail http://www.researchlearningcenter.com/bloom/species/Lupinus_truncatus.htm
  14. 14. 3/7/2015 14 © Project SOUND Growing Lupines from seed: a few little tricks  Lupine seeds have a hard seed coat; something needs to breach it to begin germination process  In nature:  Exposure to fire, acidic soils/water  The home grower:  Hot water bath for 12 hours  Plant out when a rain is expected; rainwater completes the ‘miracle’ of initiating germination http://www.hazmac.biz/040614/040614LupinusHirsutissimus.html Once established, lupines will reseed well in most gardens. However they will only germinate in ‘favorable’ years. Reasons to include annual lupines in your garden  Quick-growing annuals; good fillers  Showy flowers  Fragrant  Reliable – relatively easy to grow  Require little care  Drought tolerant after established  Help improve soil nitrogen  Self-seed  Habitat value: pollinators & seed-eaters Theodore Payne Garden Tour © Project SOUND Sparrows, Towhees & Juncos: Family Emberizidae  Most forage & nest on the ground.  Most are seed-eaters - have short, thick bills adapted for this diet  Also eat insects and other arthropods at times, and feed them to their young.  They are typically monogamous. Females generally build the nests and incubate the eggs and young, but both parents feed the young.  Many of these birds are small, brown, and streaked, and stay close to cover, making identification challenging. © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark-eyed_junco Slate-colored Junco – sometimes seen in local gardens
  15. 15. 3/7/2015 15 © Project SOUND Why eat seeds?  Readily available – formerly in large numbers (plants have to produce many seeds to insure reproduction)  Seeds are ‘super food’ – lots of bang for the buck  The bulk of most seeds consist of stored food – needed by the seedling  That stored food is calorie-dense – fats, oils, starches  Both plants & animals can digest that food – animals share lots of basic enzymes with plants  It’s not surprising that many migratory birds eat seeds http://asweknowit.net/images_edu/DWA%205%20plant%20seed.jpg House sparrow – Passer domesticus  Native to Europe – can compete with native species  Almost always found where people are  Food sources  Bird feeders  Scavenging for crumbs at fast food joints & outdoor restaurants  Seeds (grass & other)  Insects  Prefers to nest in manmade structures © Project SOUND http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Passer_domesticus#mediav iewer/File:Passer_domesticus_-California,_USA-8.jpg White-crowned sparrow – Zonotrichia leucophrys © Project SOUND White-crowned sparrow – Zonotrichia leucophrys  Size: large for sparrow - 18 cm (7 in) long  Identifying characteristics:  Small pale pink/yellow bill and a long tail.  Pinkish-orange legs, feet  Head can look distinctly peaked or smooth and flat  Adult:  Pale-gray and brown  Very bold black-and-white stripes on the head  Juvenile:  Head stripes brown rather than black © Project SOUND
  16. 16. 3/7/2015 16 White-crowned Sparrow  Range: N. America  When in our area:  Winter: Oct-March  Alaskan White-crowned Sparrows migrate about 2,600 miles to winter in S. California.  Habitat: mix of brush with open or grassy ground for foraging.  Short grass or open areas adjacent to woodlands, hedgerows, or brush piles.  Hedgerows, desert scrub, brushy areas, wood edges, and feeders  Usually in small flocks  Conservation status: common but numbers declined by 1/3 from 1966 to 2010. © Project SOUND http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/white- crowned_sparrow/lifehistory White-crowned sparrows eat a wide variety of foods  Eat mainly seeds of native plants, weeds and grasses  Also eat grains such as oats, wheat, barley, and corn and smaller nuts (pine nuts)  Fruit including elderberries and blackberries.  Young ‘greens’ – annual wildflower seedlings, fruit-tree flower buds, young bulb leaves/stalks  In summer (not here) eat considerable numbers of caterpillars, wasps, beetles, and other insects © Project SOUND Plenty of opportunity for observation  Natural feeding/behavior:  At the edges of brushy habitat, hopping on the ground or on branches usually below waist level.  Also on open ground but typically with the safety of shrubs or trees nearby.  Well-camouflaged  Hop and ‘double scratch’ to feed  At feeders:  Need platform feeder  Wait patiently at dawn for you to put out food  As likely to feed under the feeder as on it  Need nearby trees/shrubs for safety © Project SOUND Pretty song: dialect learned early in life Best bets for White-crowned Sparrows  Blue elderberry  Native wildflowers  Tidy-tips  Lasthenia  Gilias  Hooker’s  Clarkias  Miner’s lettuce  Dotseed plantain  Native grasses, sedges  Need leaf litter or thin mulch © Project SOUND
  17. 17. 3/7/2015 17 © Project SOUND Dotseed Plantain – Plantago erecta ©Gary A. Monroe. Catalina Island, Los Angeles Co., CA. May 2, 2003 © Project SOUND Dot-seed Plantain is a sure thing…..with winter water and summer drought  Found throughout CA in vernal pools and depressions in dunes, grasslands, coastal prairies  Not particular about soil texture, pH  Full sun-partial shade  Does need good winter water – will not germinate without it  No summer water  Like many annuals, does best in slightly disturbed soils  Doesn’t compete well with alien annual grasses Dot-seed plantain was a major grain food for native Californians © Project SOUND Dot-seed Plantain is a great butterfly habitat plant – larval food source http://angelo.berkeley.edu/Photographs/Jessie/Checkerspot.jpg Checkerspots Common Buckeye http://www.duhons.net/Common%20Buckeye%207%20CP.jpg © Project SOUND Dotseed plantain and other annuals are an important source of seeds for ground-foraging birds
  18. 18. 3/7/2015 18 Giant Rye Grass - Leymus condensatus http://www.timetotrack.com/jay/ryegw.htm Giant Rye Grass - Leymus condensatus http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_JM_treatment.pl?Leymus+condensatus http://www.bfs.claremont.edu/biota/plants.html  Distribution: western US; coastal CA and Mojave desert  Habitat: dunes, dry plains and slopes, grasslands, creekbeds  Large (3-8 ft tall), densely-clumping perennial grass with long, blue-green leaves  Flowers borne on plume- like stems above leaves Giant Rye Grass  Animal uses:  Good browse and graze  Food for butterflies (larva) and other insects  Birds: nest site, cover and lots of seed for food  Human uses:  Seeds  Can be cooked or ground into flour and eaten  Leaves  Medicinal – eye infections  Mats, baskets, rope, paper, roof thatches  Stems  Arrow shafts http://www.elnativogrowers.com/Photographs_page/leco.htm Giant Rye: drama in the garden  Background plant: nice contrast with other natives  Specimen - Pampas Grass substitute  Windbreaks/ informal ‘hedges’  Hillsides
  19. 19. 3/7/2015 19  Smaller, grayer variant of Giant Rye (from Prince’s Island)  More adaptable to landscape – can be sheared  Uses:  Accent plant; container plant  Hedging  Border plant  Natural gardens, meadows “Canyon Prince” cultivar is a garden favorite Managing grasses for bird/animal habitat  Leave seeding stems on plants until seeds are ripe/have fallen  If harvest before all seeds are eaten, place seeds where birds can eat them  Use signage to explain your pruning strategy (e.g. creating bird habitat)  Cut back plants (hard) when they becoming un-productive (usually every 3-4 years)  Cool season grasses – fall  Warm season grasses - spring © Project SOUND California Towhee – Melozone (Pipilo) crissalis © Project SOUND California Towhee – Melozone (Pipilo) crissalis  Size: large for a sparrow - 20–25 cm (7.9–9.8 in) in length [medium-sized bird]  Identifying characteristics:  Large sparrows, with a sparrow’s short, rounded wings, long tail  Thick, seed-cracking beak – but towhees are larger and bulkier that most sparrows.  Brown-gray  Throat & under-parts may have some orange/buff  Distinctive ‘necklace’ of brown spots © Project SOUND Plain & secretive bird: most likely you’ll hear it’s call – a sharp, metallic ‘chink’ (‘peenk’; "chink-chink-ink-ink-ink-ink-ink- ink".) [bouncing ball call] Duet to defend territory & maintain contact
  20. 20. 3/7/2015 20 California Towhee – Melozone (Pipilo) crissalis  Range: Coastal N. America from OR to Baja  When in our area: year-round  Habitat:  Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub, Oak Woodland, Desert riparian  Live amid manzanita, buckthorn, madrone, foothill pines, and a variety of oaks  Backyards and neighborhood parks of lowland California  Conservation status: common & stable in most of range © Project SOUND http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/california_towhee/id Towhee diet: seeds +  Mostly seeds from many kinds of grasses and forbs  Also berries: elderberry, coffeeberry, poison oak, acorns  ‘Steal’ tender peas and lettuce, as well as fruit from orchards (plums, apricots are favorites).  Supplement diet with insects (mostly beetles, grasshoppers; also spiders, millipedes, and snails) during the breeding season.  At feeders : eats millet, cracked corn, peanuts, nuts, other seeds. © Project SOUND http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pipilo_crissalis_(1).jpg Note how many native birds have adapted to new food sources © Project SOUND California Towhee – Melozone (Pipilo) crissalis  Towhees feed on seeds and insects within the leaf litter or occasionally on berries or seeds on bushes (strip the seeds off a grass stalk).  Forages in the leaf litter using the classic towhee foraging maneuver, the double-scratch.  They lunging forward and then quickly hopping backward, scratching at the ground with both feet.  If an insect moves, the bird is poised to pounce on it (or uncovered seeds).  The California Towhee likes dense cover and leaf litter. Leaf litter is good for many birds as well as most California native plants. Attracting CA Towhees to your yard  The California Towhee likes dense cover and leaf litter.  Consider planting a large shrub or hedge/hedgerow for cover, nest sites  Some food plants to consider:  Rhamnus/Frangula or other fruiting shrubs/trees  Fragaria spp (strawberries)  Ribes spp (currants & gooseberries)  Seeds  Native grasses  Asteraceae (Sunflower family)  Other wildflowers © Project SOUND
  21. 21. 3/7/2015 21 Nature can be messy & complex © Project SOUND Habitat gardens need to balance the needs for complexity and neatness CA towhees more likely to nest in the wild  California Towhees typically build their nests in a low fork (3-12 feet high) in a shrub/small tree.  Ceanothus,  Coffeeberry, and other shrubs of the chaparral;  Willow  Eucalyptus and many other ornamental shrubs and trees.  March through September  A bulky cup made of twigs, stems, grasses, and hair © Project SOUND Photo by Harold Greeney Young leave the nest after just 8 days © Project SOUND CA Coffeeberry – Frangula (Rhamnus) californica USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database © Project SOUND Plenty of cultivars: most of them low- growing compared to the species ‘Eve Case’ http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/rhamnus-californica-eve-case ‘Mound San Bruno’ http://www.smgrowers.com/products/pla nts/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=1850 ‘Leatherleaf’ http://www.yerbabuenanursery.com/viewplant.php?pid=0521 ‘Salt Point’ http://www.calfloranursery.com/pages_plants/pages_r/rhacalsalpoi.html http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3040/2330631124_56f79b4717.j pg?v=0
  22. 22. 3/7/2015 22 © Project SOUND Coffeeberry can be used in so many ways…  For erosion control on slopes; great combined with other CSS or chaparral plants  As an accent plant; beauty and habitat in one plant  For backs of mixed beds  Under oaks; great for sun/shade transition zones  Particularly suited for hedging:  Formal or informal hedges, screens  As a partner in hedgerows http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/rhamnus-californica The Songbirds: sub-order Passeri  Sub-order (clade) of the Perching birds (Passeriformes)  Over 4000 species world-wide  Evolved 50 million years ago in the part of Gondwana (broke up to form Australia, New Zealand, Antactica & other islands)  Key feature: they sing with sometimes elaborate songs  Territorial: use song to  Indicate location  During courtship - attract females  Signal territory © Project SOUND Yellow-rumped warbler - Setophaga coronata © Project SOUND Yellow-rumped warbler - Setophaga coronata (audubonii)  Size: 12 to 15 cm (4.5 to 6 in.) long  Identifying characteristics:  Full-bodied warbler with large head, sturdy bill, and long, narrow tail  Summer male : slate blue back, yellow throat, and yellow crown, rump and flank patch. It has white tail patches, and the breast is streaked black.  Summer female: similar pattern, but the back and breast streaks are brown.  Winter birds are paler brown, with bright yellow rump and throat; usually some yellow on the sides.  Song: trill-like song of 4–7 syllables (tyew- tyew-tyew-tyew,tew-tew-tew) © Project SOUND
  23. 23. 3/7/2015 23 Male in breeding plumage © Project SOUND Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) warbler - Setophaga coronata (audubonii)  Range: North America; Audubon’s form in West  When in our area: mostly fall/winter, but may be year-round; southern individuals less likely to migrate than northern ones.  Habitat:  In summer: open coniferous forests and edges, and to a lesser extent deciduous forests.  In fall and winter : open woods and shrubby habitats, including coastal vegetation, parks, home gardens.  Conservation status: common and widespread © Project SOUND http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/yellow-rumped_warbler/id http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Setophaga_auduboni#me diaviewer/File:Dendroica_coronata_auduboni_map.svg Audubon’s Warbler: varied diet  Insects: caterpillars/other larvae, leaf beetles, bark beetles, weevils, ants, scale insects, aphids, grasshoppers, caddisflies, craneflies, and gnats, as well as spiders.  Plant foods:  On migration/winter: eat great numbers of fruits, particularly wax myrtle, which their digestive systems are uniquely suited among warblers to digest.  Other commonly eaten fruits include juniper berries, poison oak, grapes, elderberries and dogwood.  Also eat wild seeds such as from native grasses and goldenrod.  May come to hanging feeders, where they'll take sunflower seeds, raisins, peanut butter, and suet. © Project SOUND Charming to watch  Natural feeding/behavior:  Glean insects from leaves/branches  Dart out to catch insects on the wing  Eat dried berries on tree  Will drink/take a bath in a birdbath or shallow pond  At feeders:  Like hanging feeders best  Very cautious; more aggressive birds may scare them off, but they return © Project SOUND
  24. 24. 3/7/2015 24 Good bets for attracting ‘butter butts’  CA Wax myrtle – Morella (Myrica) californica  Fruiting trees & shrubs  Sambucus nigra cerulea - Blue elderberry  Fruit trees (especially like the winter-deciduous)  Large native shrubs that retain fruits: Toyon; Manzanitas  Other large shrubs  Fruiting vines  Grapes  Honeysuckles © Project SOUND © Project SOUND * Pacific (CA) Wax Myrtle – Morella (Myrica) californica © Project SOUND Wax Myrtles can be used in many ways  As a specimen plant, accenting colors, fruits, aroma  Trained into a small shade tree; woodsy feel  As a foundation plant  Mixed with other coastal shrubs in coastal gardens; tolerates salt-spray, winds  In medicinal garden: tea from ground bark used for colds, skin infectionshttp://gardenoflamancha.blogspot.com/2008/01/myrica-californica.html Wash off the dust every week or so to keep it happy in summer © Project SOUND But Wax Myrtle really shines as a hedge plant  Large informal hedges, windbreaks  Clipped formal hedges, screens  As a foundation plant for a hedgerow http://gardenoflamancha.blogspot.com/2008/01/myrica-californica.html
  25. 25. 3/7/2015 25 Pink Honeysuckle – Lonicera hispidula var. vacillans © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Our local honeysuckles are vine-like shrubs (or woody vines)  Size: vines 5-18 ft. long  Fast growing  Relatively long-lived: 15-20 years  Deciduous with paired, rounded fuzzy leaves – autumn foliage color  Cannot climb without support – rather creeps or sprawls over other plants http://www.santabarbarahikes.com/flowers/index.php?action=show_item&id=213&search= © Project SOUND A honeysuckle with pink flowers…  Blooms Apr-July  Pink-lavender and white flowers – typical Honeysuckle  Flowers in showy clusters at ends of flowering stalks  Flowers are scented  Provide a good nectar source for hummingbirds, bees & butterflies © Project SOUND Berries are edible – enjoyed by birds  Berries in summer/fall  Bright red – in showy clusters – can be dramatic  Fruits edible – with a little sweetner  Fruit-eating birds will take care of them for you http://www.backyardnature.net/n/09/091004.htm http://blog.duncraft.com/2010/08/10/feed-fruit-and- berries-to-your-birds/ Cedar waxwing
  26. 26. 3/7/2015 26 © Project SOUND Native honeysuckles: perfect for shade, clay  Light: probably best in part- shade – but can take full sun to shade  Soils: any well-drained, including clays  Water:  drought tolerant but can tolerate seasonal flooding  Moderate to none in summer once established  Nutrients: low requirements, but may benefit from organic mulch http://www.baynatives.com/plants/Lonicera-hispidula/ Versatile native honeysuckles  On fences or trellises – they need something to grow on  Over an arbor or pergola; great addition to scented garden & excellent habitat plants  As a groundcover; in hedgerows © Project SOUND http://www.thegardenhelper.com/psd/lonicera_hh.jpg Bushtit - Psaltriparus minimus © Project SOUND http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/birds/passeriformes/Psaltriparus%20minimus/ Bushtit - Psaltriparus minimus  Size: tiny – about 4.3 inches  Identifying characteristics:  gray-brown to greenish-gray overall – lighter beneath  large head, a short neck, a long tail, and a short stubby bill.  male has dark eyes and the adult female, yellow.  Coastal forms have a brown "cap"  The only species of long-tailed tit in North America. © Project SOUND http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Bushtit http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/files/2011/ 01/011_bushtit1-940x626.jpg
  27. 27. 3/7/2015 27 Bushtit - Psaltriparus minimus  Range: western N. America from British Columbia to Central America  When in our area: year-round; more noticeable in fall/winter when travel in flocks of 20-30+  Habitat:  chaparral, oak forest, pinyon-juniper and pine-oak woods  streamside groves in dry areas  parks and gardens with large trees  elevations from sea level to over 11,000 feet  Conservation status: common; stable numbers © Project SOUND http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/bushtit Bushtits are a gardener’s best friend  Insects : mostly small insects and spiders  Feeds on a wide variety of tiny insects, especially leafhoppers, treehoppers, aphids, scale insects, caterpillars, and beetles; also wasps, ants, and many others, including eggs and pupae of many insects.  They less frequently eat plant material, but have been seen eating olives, small berries and willow seeds. © Project SOUND http://ibc.lynxeds.com/photo/bushtit-psaltriparus- minimus/part-large-flock-was-very-actively-foraging-bush- bush Bushtits are wonderful to watch  Very tame and fearless of humans  Natural feeding/behavior:  Very active and gregarious, foraging in single or mixed-species feeding flocks  Constant communication – call sounds like little ringing bells  Move constantly, often hanging upside down to pick at insects or spiders on the undersides of leaves.  Sip water from drops on leaves  Generally don’t feed at feeders; may visit hanging suet block to glean insects, spiders © Project SOUND http://sutroforest.com/2010/03/29/sutro-forest-birds/ May move to higher elevations after breeding Nesting in your yard? Yes if you have trees  Nest sites on branches or trunks of trees from 8 to 100 feet up  Very unusual hanging nest, shaped like a soft pouch or sock, from moss, spider webs, and grasses.  Adult male ‘helpers’ help raise the young (very unusual among birds)  All Bushtit family members sleep together in the hanging nest during the breeding season. Once the young fledge, they all leave the nest and thereafter sleep on branches © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_bushtit#mediaviewe r/File:Bushtit_Nest.JPG Not strongly territorial; tolerate other Bushtits even near nest.
  28. 28. 3/7/2015 28 Bushtits like any plants with small insects  Any tree or large shrub, including fruit trees [citrus]  Fruiting vines  Especially like:  Mulefat  Ceanothus  Coyote bush  Mountain mahogany  Native Junipers  Native pines  Native oaks © Project SOUND http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/birds/passeriformes/Psaltriparus%20minimus/ © Project SOUND Mulefat – Baccharis salicifolia © Project SOUND Mulefat: interesting bush Sunflower  Size:  6-10 ft tall  6-8 ft wide  Growth form:  Large, woody shrub  Many long stems  Vase-shaped or rounded  Foliage:  Drought deciduous  Bright/medium green, sticky, aromatic  Leaves shaped like willow leaves  Roots: mostly fibrous – some may be deeper © Project SOUND Separate male, female plants  Blooms:  Off & on depending on water from Feb-Oct.  May be a good spring bloom  Flowers: dioecious; insect pollinated  Male flower heads:  May be pink or cream  Look like ‘fireworks’  Female flower heads:  Also pinkish or white  Looks like a soft little brush  Seeds (female plants) : small with fluffy ‘sail’ – wind distributed female male
  29. 29. 3/7/2015 29 Mule Fat provides many important resources to the local ecosystem  Habitat considerations  Butterfly and bee nectar plant; other insects eat leaves  Good perches for birds  Shelter/nest site for birds, small mammals and reptiles  Attracts seed-eating birds (especially finches)  Attracts insect-eating birds http://www.fireflyforest.com/flowers/whites/white21.html © Project SOUND Mulefat makes a fine large shrub  As a background shrub – even in narrow places  As a shade ‘tree’  In a habitat hedgerow; one of the best all-round habitat plants  In a locally-native garden Tyrant Flycatchers – family Tyrannidae  Largest family of birds on earth, with over 400 known species  Live in the Americas  Most, but not all, species are rather plain (various hues of brown, gray and white commonplace)  Some species have erectile crests on their heads.  Mostly insectivores – sally forth to catch flying insects  Extremely variable habitats © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Say%27s_phoebe#mediaviewer/File:Sayornis_saya_6.jpg -Linda Tanner Say’s Phoebe Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans © Project SOUND
  30. 30. 3/7/2015 30 Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans  Size: small 16 cm (6-7 inches); medium size for flycatcher  Identifying characteristics:  Small, plump songbirds with large heads and medium-long, squared tails.  They often show a slight peak at the rear of the crown. The bill is straight and thin  Mostly sooty gray on the upperparts and chest, with a slightly darker black head.  The belly is clean white, and the wing feathers are edged with pale gray. © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_phoebe#mediaviewer/Fi le:Sayornis_nigricans_NBII.jpg Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans  Range: S. OR, coastal CA, AZ, NM to S. America (mostly western coast)  When in our area: year-round; may migrate slightly North or to higher elevations in summer.  Habitat:  Closely associated with water sources: cliffs/beaches, riverbanks, lake shorelines, ephemeral ponds, parks, backyards, even cattle tanks.  Require a source of mud for nest building.  Conservation status: numerous & increasing; adapt well to urban/suburban environments. Need wetland Preserves. © Project SOUND Black Phoebes are insectivores  Eat arthropods almost exclusively:  bees, wasps, flies, beetles, bugs, grasshoppers, damselflies, dragonflies, termites, and spiders.  Perch less than 7 feet off the ground or the water; keep a sharp eye out for prey. Once they spot something, they sally from perches to either take prey from the air, glean it as it crawls, or snatch it from the surface of a pond.  Sometimes snatch minnows from the surface of ponds.  Occasionally eat small berries © Project SOUND http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?nid=55823 Help keep those pesky flying insects at bay! Black Phoebes: fun to watch  Not really afraid of humans – like to be near human structures  Poop on perches (chairs; etc.)  Will try to nest in human structures  They sit upright, in the open on low perches, to scan for insects, often keeping up a running series of shrill chirps.  Make short, quick flights to catch insects.  They pump their tails up and down incessantly when perched. © Project SOUND http://www.birdinginformation.com/birds/tyrant- flycatchers/black-phoebe/ Song: repeated tee-hee, tee ho.
  31. 31. 3/7/2015 31 Attracting Phoebes to your yard  Need a source of water/mud  Like low perches  Plant native plants that attract plenty of flying insects:  Native trees – Blue elderberry  Mulefat  Goldenbushes  Buckwheats © Project SOUND Make a nesting platform http://www.50birds.com/birdhouse-plans/phoebe-nesting-platform.htm http://www.50birds.com/birdhouse-plans/phoebe-nesting- platform.htm Insecticides & birds: there’s a connection  Insecticides kill food sources for insect- eating birds  Insect-eating birds concentrate pesticides from the many insects they eat – effects can be bad © Project SOUND Native ‘pest controllers’ control many insects on native plants Nesting in your yard: entirely possible  Pairs monogamous; very territorial  The male Black Phoebe gives the female a tour of potential nest sites, hovering in front of each likely spot for 5 to 10 seconds.  Female makes the final decision and does all the nest construction.  Nest is a mud shell lined with plant fibers, plastered to a vertical wall within an inch or two of a protective ceiling  May re-use nest for several years © Project SOUND The chicks fledge in 14-21 days. The female may have 2-3 broods a year. © Project SOUND The Corvids - Family Corvidae  > 120 species  Contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies and nutcrackers  Large to medium-sized birds; smart and social  Omnivores – including human food  Most people can recognize at least a few members http://pomofo.tumblr.com/post/82163220945/ofpaperandponies-crow-vs- raven-by-paso-ravens
  32. 32. 3/7/2015 32 © Project SOUND Some birds have unique relationships with specific plants… http://www.laspilitas.com/California_birds/Jays_and_magpies/scrub_jay/scrub_jay_in_your_garden.htm Their favorite foods are acorns and they also enjoy eating the insects attracted by an oak tree. Western Scrub Jay - Aphelocoma californica © Project SOUND ‘I have no room for a Oak Tree’ http://farm1.static.flickr.com/121/277961690_153fe58532_o.jpg © Project SOUND S. California’s Scrub Oaks  Scrub Oak is a general name for several species of small, shrubby, evergreen oaks, including the following species:  California Scrub Oak (Quercus berberidifolia)  Leather Oak (Quercus durata)  Coastal Scrub Oak (Quercus dumosa)  Tucker Oak (Quercus john-tuckeri)  Channel Island Scrub Oak (Quercus pacifica)  Santa Cruz Island Oak (Quercus parvula)  Sonoran Scrub Oak (Quercus turbinella) © Project SOUND Coastal Sage Scrub Oak – Quercus berberidifolia http://www.yerbabuenanursery.com/images/new_botimages/large/0620_2_a.jpg
  33. 33. 3/7/2015 33 © Project SOUND Channel Island Scrub Oak – Quercus pacifica © 2001 Tony Morosco © Project SOUND Channel Island Scrub Oak – Quercus pacifica  Endemic on three of the California Channel Islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Catalina, and Santa Rosa.  Island Chaparral, woodlands, margins of grasslands  Is a species of concern http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=233501070 http://www.channelislandsrestoration.com/sci/endemics.htm http://www.channelislandsrestoration.com/sci/Quercus-pacifica1.htm © Project SOUND Channel Isl Scrub Oak: in many ways a typical scrub oak  Size:  6-15 ft tall  10-15 ft wide  Growth form:  Large shrub or small tree  Gray, furrowed bark at maturity  Rather dense – heavily branched  Foliage:  Medium-sized leathery leaves  Surfaces glandular & waxy  Have star-shaped hairs (trichomes)  larval food for Hairstreaks, Duskywings, CA Sister butterflies  Roots: Both shallow & deep roots © 2001 Tony Morosco http://128.253.177.182/taxpage/0/0/79/binomial/Quercus%20pacifica.html © Project SOUND Scrub Oaks – so versatile  Excellent on dry slopes, for erosion control  Appropriate for parking strips  Can bonsai – or trim as a hedge/screen  Superb habitat plant  Butterflies  Other insects  Wide range of birds  Provides food, perches, nesting sites (CA Towhee) © 2001 Tony Morosco http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3572/3642572283_1852921712.jpg?v= 0
  34. 34. 3/7/2015 34 © Project SOUND Western Scrub Jay - Aphelocoma californica  Scrub Jays are generalists - eat acorns, seeds, fruits and nuts – also insects & eggs.  Store acorns in the soil for short-term storage; an important dispersal agent of oaks – think of them as the ‘Johnny Appleseeds’ of oaks  Nest in the dense foliage of a large bush or small tree, usually situated near water http://www.avesphoto.com/WEBSITE/NA/species/JAYWSC-1.htm  The more generalist an organism is, the better chances it has to co-exist with others of its own species as well as other species with similar niches © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_scrub_jay Competition can occur in wild and garden ecosystems  Definition: a biological interaction among organisms of the same or different species associated with the need for a common resource that occurs in a limited supply relative to demand.  Often involves a scarcity of some factor necessary for life  Food  Water  ‘territory’ (nesting sites)  Etc.  Inter-specific competition © Project SOUND Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos © Project SOUND http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Northern_Mocking_bird_-_Mimus_polyglottos.JPG
  35. 35. 3/7/2015 35 Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos  Size: medium - 20.5 to 28 cm (8.1 to 11.0 in) including tail  Identifying characteristics:  Slender body; long tail  Long, thin bill & long, dark legs  Overall gray-brown, paler on the breast and belly, with two white wingbars on each dark gray wing.  White patch in each wing is often visible on perched birds, and in flight these become large white flashes.  The white outer tail feathers are also flashy in flight. © Project SOUND http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Mockingbird/id Mockingbirds are real singers…  Song: complex mix of many bird’s songs.  Continue to add new sounds to their repertoires throughout their lives. A male may learn around 200 songs throughout its life  Typically sing from February through August, and again from September to early November  Sing day & night in breeding season © Project SOUND http://www.birdwatchersgeneralstore.com/MockingbirdsNight.htm Popular as a caged bird in 1800’s Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos  Range: S. Canada to Central America  When in our area: year-round  Habitat:  Areas with open ground and with shrubby vegetation (hedges, fruiting bushes, and thickets).  When foraging on the ground, it prefers grassy areas, rather than bare spots.  Towns, suburbs, backyards, parks, forest edges, and open land at low elevations.  Conservation status: common, but populations declined by about 20 percent from 1966 to 2010 © Project SOUND Northern Mockingbird is an omnivore  Eat mainly insects in summer: beetles, earthworms, moths, butterflies, ants, bees, wasps, grasshoppers  Switch to eating mostly fruit in fall and winter: many types including mulberries, hawthorns, apples, rosehips, Toyon fruits and native berries.  Opportunists: sometimes eat small lizards; been seen drinking sap from the cuts on recently pruned trees.  Mockingbirds can drink from puddles, river and lake edges, or dew and rain droplets on plants © Project SOUND
  36. 36. 3/7/2015 36 Observing Mockingbirds  Highly territorial:  Males sing from high perch  Will ‘scold’ & chase intruders from vicinity of nest, young  Usually perches high off ground  Natural feeding/behavior:  May run or hop along ground  ‘Broken wing’ display  At feeders: not often © Project SOUND May nest in your yard – though they’d probably prefer a park  Nest in shrubs and trees, typically 3-10 feet off the ground or more.  The male probably chooses the nest site and begins building several nests before the female chooses one to finish  ‘Rustic’ looking nest: dead twigs shaped into an open cup, lined with grasses, rootlets, leaves, and trash, sometimes including bits of plastic, aluminum foil, and shredded cigarette filters. © Project SOUND http://askville.amazon.com/long-baby-mocking-birds-stay-nest- flying/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=11297133 Best bets for Mockingbirds  Provide trees or large bushes for perching and nesting  Provide ‘insect plants’ for summer food  Mulefat  Fruit trees  Choose fruiting trees, bushes or vines for winter food  Blue elderberry  Native berry bushes  Apple trees  Toyon  Native roses © Project SOUND Blue/Mexican Elderberry – Sambucus nigra spp. cerulea (S. cerulea) http://www.timetotrack.com/jay/elderb3.htm
  37. 37. 3/7/2015 37 Blue/Mexican Elderberry  Southwestern Canada  Western U.S. – particularly coastal and higher elevations  In CA, primarily coastal  Northwestern Mexico http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/syllabus/maps/sambucus_cerulea.jpg Elderberry is great habitat  Insects – use leaves & flowers  Endangered Valley Longhorn Beetle CA Central Valley)  Bees & other pollinators  Birds – berries, insects, cover, nesting sites  Animals – foliage, berries, cover http://www.backfromthebrink.org/ pop_up_slideshow.cfm?animalid= 15 http://www.freespiritart.com/indigo-bunting.php Elderberry – extremely versatile in the home garden  Can be grown as a tree – little pruning required  Can be trained as a “large bush” – yearly pruning  Good for retaining soil on slopes and banks  As a specimen – light and lacy  In naturalized areas  Scent garden – flowers smell like honey on hot days  Xeriscaping – particularly good for rain gardens, vernal swales http://museum.utep.edu/archive/plants/DDelder.htm Hooded Oriole - Icterus cucullatus © Project SOUND http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Icterus_cucullatus_Male_2.jpg
  38. 38. 3/7/2015 38 Hooded Oriole - Icterus cucullatus  Size: medium (~7 inches)  Identifying characteristics:  Slender body; long tail  Male:  Entirely orange or orange-yellow head, nape, rump, and underparts.  Black bib, narrow mask and back.  Wings black with two white wingbars, the upper one wide and bold, the lower one narrow. Tail black  Female:  Olive yellow on head, rump, and tail. Underparts dull, but brighter yellow.  Back dull grayish olive.  Two white wingbars, top one broader than lower. Wings dusky. © Project SOUND http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hooded_Oriole/id Hooded Oriole - Icterus cucullatus  Range: CA to Central America  When in our area: spring/summer breeding season (late March-Aug.) ; migrate south to Mexico in flocks in fall  Habitat:  Breeds in areas with scattered trees, such as desert oases and along streams. Also in mesquite brush.  Common in urban and suburban areas. Fond of palm trees.  Conservation status: least concern – range expanding into more suburban areas © Project SOUND Hooded Oriole is an insect- and fruit-eater  Searches for insects among leaves; may hang upside down.  Spiders, caterpillars and beetles  Nectar: orange & red flowers  A nectar robber because it pierces the base of the flower, and does not assist in pollination  Prefer nectar from the blossoms of agaves, aloes, hibiscus and tree tobacco and lilies, also fruit trees, eucalyptus  Fruits:  Many wild fruits and berries.  Cultivated fruits, particularly when the fruits are sweet and juicy ripe. [oranges, tangerines. ripe peaches, pears, plums, apricots, nectarines, large grapes, melons (especially watermelon)] © Project SOUND http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooded_oriole#me diaviewer/File:HoodedOriole.jpg Bright, lively birds are fun to watch  Natural feeding/behavior:  Most likely to see gathering food for nestlings  Social: interactions, calling  Most likely to see in shrubs that have lots of insects  Very active birds  At feeders:  Will take fruit from feeders  will visit hummingbird feeders © Project SOUND http://fireflyforest.net/firefly/2005/06/03/hooded-oriole/
  39. 39. 3/7/2015 39 Oriole feeders tempt these pretty birds  Orioles also enjoy jelly;  Grape or Bird Berry Jelly is commonly used  Orioles may also eat mealworms (particularly attractive when feeding young birds) or fruit (grapes and citrus commonly used)  Sugar water (like hummingbirds)  1:6 sugar:water mix best  Specialty oriole feeders have wider ports to accommodate their beaks, larger size perches, and sometimes) jelly-holding cups in the lid in addition to the main sugar water basin. © Project SOUND Oriole feeder http://wildbirdsonline.com/articles_orioles.html Wild Birds Unlimited, Torrance  Expert advice  Good bird/habitat events calendar  Shop has all sorts of bird- associated products:  Garden  Bird food & feeders  Binoculars  Books & other resources © Project SOUND Nesting in your yard: possible  Favorite trees: palms, Eucalyptus; will nest in other garden & native trees like Cottonwoods, Sycamores, Willows  Nest is a tightly woven pouch of plant fibers attached to the underside of a leaf or tree branch.  May be hanging freely or attached by sides of nest as well as rim. © Project SOUND http://goldengateaudubon.org/wp- content/uploads/Hooded-oriole-fleglings-in-nest.- Cycad-and-Palm-Gaden-Paul-Licht.jpg Summer tree trimming – not a good idea  Stressful for trees  Destructive of nests, nest sites  Breeding bird season: March through August  Does this tree really need to be pruned?  Many properly located and selected trees need very little pruning  Be sure that you use a reputable arborist service © Project SOUND
  40. 40. 3/7/2015 40 Best plant choices for attracting orioles  Large trees for nesting:  Native: Cottonwoods, sycamores, California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera)  Non-native: palms; eucalyptus, Bottlebrush tree (Callistemon)  Any of the good trees/shrubs for insects  Fruiting/berry trees & shrubs  Blue elderberry  Ribes species  Wild grape – Vitis girdiana © Project SOUND © Project SOUND White-flowered Currant - Ribes indecorum Pink Currant - Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum © Project SOUND  Coastal areas and mountain ranges  R. indecorum : South Coast, Western Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges to N. Baja  R. sanguineun : Central & N. Coast  interior canyons and washes  Chaparral and coastal sage scrub below 6000' White-flowered Currant - Ribes indecorum Pink Currant - Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum White Pink http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_JM_treatment.pl?4450,4451,4489,4490 © Project SOUND White & Pink Currants in the wild  Commonly grow in the shade of large oaks, along seasonal creeks and on north and east slopes  Part- to full shade  Seasonal water
  41. 41. 3/7/2015 41 © Project SOUND White & Pink Currants  Showy flowers  Early: winter to spring  Cluster of bell-shaped flowers on drooping stalks  Fragrant!!  Provide early nectar source for:  Hummingbirds  Butterflies  Bees & other pollinators  Sticky Purple berries  Edible – raw or cooked  Food for many birds (Dark-eyed Junco, Quail, Thrushes, Robins, Finches, Towhees and Jays) © Project SOUND Many possibilities in the garden  As a berry bush in the edible garden; great for jellies  As a shrub in backs of summer-dry beds  In hedgerows & hedges  In a fragrance garden  For wildlife habitat in a natural or formal garden – some of the best because they provide food & shelter  As an accent plant – showy flowers & attractive foliage  In large pots, planters Last month we talked about below-ground food webs  There are terrestrial food webs in your garden ecosystem as well – you might even want to draw a simple one © Project SOUND http://greatneck.k12.ny.us/GNPS/SHS/dept/science/krauz/bio_h/images/53_12FoodChains_L.jp g Blue elderberry insect Mockingbird Bushtit Sometimes high level consumers visit the garden © Project SOUND If you attract birds to your yard, their predators may also visit
  42. 42. 3/7/2015 42 Cooper’s Hawk - Accipiter cooperii  Most likely raptor in most gardens  Size: 14.5-15.5 inches (medium hawk)  A bird of forests & woodlands; fairly common in urban/suburban S. CA  Behavior:  Swooping through trees to catch medium-sized birds (Jays; Mockingbirds)  Swooping down to capture ground- feeding Doves  Perched (usually pretty well hidden); always watchful – may hear it cry (harsh cak-cak-cak-cak-cak etc.)  Nest in tall trees (parks; preserves) © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Things you can do to attract more birds  Plant a greater variety of plants to attract a greater diversity of birds: taller and shorter trees, shrubs, native flowers, and grasses.  Diversify the height, leaf type, and food (fruits, berries, and nuts) provided by the plants in your garden.  Plant shrubs and trees that provide berries well into the winter to attract fruit-eating birds – including migrants like Cedar Waxwings. © Project SOUND Things you can do to attract more birds  Plant in groupings: more food & edge effects.  Include native wildflowers and shrubs that attract insects: the insects will feed insect-eating birds and the young of many seed eaters.  Allow flowers/grasses to go to seed to attract finches, juncos, sparrows, and other seed-eating birds. © Project SOUND Things you can do to attract more birds  Provide clean, safe water  Provide a spot of bare soil about 20 inches across in a sunny corner of your yard. This will allow birds to take dust baths to clean their feathers and get rid of parasites.  You can supplement your natural food sources by adding some feeders, but only if you choose to.
  43. 43. 3/7/2015 43 If I had to choose just a few plants…  Fruiting/nut tree (elderberry; oak; other) that provides fruits, insects, perches & nesting sites  A mixed hedgerow of large evergreen fruiting shrubs: Toyon; Rhus; Ribes; scrub oak; wild rose  Several large ‘bush sunflower’ (Mulefat; Goldenbushes)  Anything else in the Sunflower family: annual, perennial or shrub  Annual/perennial wildflowers  Native grasses © Project SOUND Native hedgerow : Heritage Creek Preserve – CSU Dominguez Hills Some books you might enjoy  D. Tallamy – Bringing Nature Home  R. Darke & D. Tallamy - The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden. Timber Press. ISBN-10: 1604694084; ISBN-13: 9781604694086  C.E. Sawyers – The Authentic Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating a Sense of Place. Timber Press. ISBN-13: 978-0- 88192-831-0  S. Stein – Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards. Houghton Mifflen Press. ISBN-10:0-395-70940-7; ISBN-13: 978-0-395-70949-5 © Project SOUND Get involved with the PV/South Bay chapter of the Audubon Society © Project SOUND Humans: top carnivores and incredible competitors  The front lines of the battle for nature are not the Amazon rain forest or the Alaskan wilderness but in our backyards, medians, parking lots, and elementary schools.  A garden, by its very definition, is an act against nature. © Project SOUND http://www.ghoofie.com/ideas/16-gorgeous-summer-garden- ideas/attachment/colorful-garden-design-ideas/
  44. 44. 3/7/2015 44 A garden is a reflection of our beliefs A garden of native plants is at least an attempt to understand what we've altered and to heal the rift between our culture and the natural ecosystems that once existed where we live. © Project SOUND Our gardens are our site of protest; our expression of what we believe is morally right © Project SOUND

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