Backyard Birds: Golden-Crowned Sparrow?

I need help identifying this bird.  It’s been visiting our yard in the San Francisco East Bay for about a month now.  At first, I thought it was an immature White-crowned Sparrow, but now I’m thinking it’s an immature Golden-crowned Sparrow.  With Project FeederWatch coming up, I want to make sure I have the right ID.  Thanks! Continue reading Backyard Birds: Golden-Crowned Sparrow?

First Signs of Fall

Yesterday, I wrote about taking your child out on walk to look for signs of Autumn (Take a “Signs of Fall” Walk).  I didn’t feel the seasons changing yet as I wrote the post, but decided to head out for a walk around our neighborhood with my 5-year-old after I wrote the article.  Here’s what we found… Leaves just beginning to change colors. Baby 2-inch-long … Continue reading First Signs of Fall

Finch Fun

Yesterday morning, my son was quietly building with his Lincoln Logs when he happily exclaimed, “Look, Mommy, a goldfinch!  There’s a goldfinch at the feeder!”  Now I had to run to the window to check it out, because I honestly can’t remember ever having any yellow birds in our backyard.  My son was correct.  Two goldfinches were quickly flying away!  I thought this was cool … Continue reading Finch Fun

Backyard Wildlife: Mourning Doves

For at least eight summers now, we’ve had a pair mourning dove  visiting our backyard.  Every year, they have a child.  Last year, my son and I were able to watch the parents teach the baby to fly.  So cute!  They showed up just a week ago with their child from this summer.  I’m sad to say one of them (we think it’s the mother) … Continue reading Backyard Wildlife: Mourning Doves

Connect with Nature: Find Your Sit Spot

I’m currently reading the book, What the Robin Knows:  How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World, by Jon Young, which is about awakening our awareness of the behavior of birds in order to deepen our connection with all the wildlife surrounding us.  Ultimately, the author is helping us to reconnect with our own animal senses, teaching us to be one with wildlife instead … Continue reading Connect with Nature: Find Your Sit Spot

Another Favorite… The Coyote

Early yesterday morning, while waiting for the water for my tea to boil, my son brought me to wakefulness by loudly exclaiming…  “THE COYOTE!  THE COYOTE!  MOMMY!  GET THE CAMERA!  IT’S THE COYOTE!”  I had to move fast… Here are my pre-caffeine photos of the coyote hunting for his breakfast on the hill behind our home… You may also enjoy… The Baby Deer Backyard Wildlife… … Continue reading Another Favorite… The Coyote

My Childhood Play… My Love of Nature

This is the backyard of my childhood home.  These are the places I played as a child, building forts, climbing trees, scaling mountains, running from dinosaurs, becoming a world explorer, digging like an archaeologist, wading in the creek, catching crawdads, watching frogs lay eggs, and observing the development of pollywogs.  This was the play of a child falling in love with nature. Are you a … Continue reading My Childhood Play… My Love of Nature

My Little Birder… Loving the Chickadee!

My five-year-old son has a new hobby.  Bird watching.  About a week or so ago, once a day, he began telling me, “I’m going into the backyard to watch the birds.”  Then he’ll proceed to sit quietly, completely still for 20-30 minutes, waiting for birds to appear. Well, a few days ago, he excitedly ran into the house screaming, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy… there’s a … Continue reading My Little Birder… Loving the Chickadee!

Backyard Wildlife… The Squirrel

We’ve had this one bird feeder in the backyard for almost two years now, without any problems with squirrels.  But that changed this week.  We now have a small red squirrel who visits us daily, cleans up the seeds dropped on the ground by the birds, and has, unfortunately, begun to raid the bird feeder itself.  He’s actually figured out how to raid both of … Continue reading Backyard Wildlife… The Squirrel

The Little Brown Bird

This little bird is my son’s favorite visitor.  He says the bird has “cool creature powers,” as the bird can jump along vertically up our back fence.  I believe this is an oak titmouse.  All I know is it’s cute, and my son loves it. Also, I’m looking for some suggestions.  For bird identification, I’m currently using the 1988 version of the Western Birds Audubon … Continue reading The Little Brown Bird

Backyard Wildlife… Scrub Jay

I’ve finally figured out who is living in the nest high up in our oak tree.  I can hear the babies chirping, but I haven’t been able to spot the parent bird feeding them.  But I’ve finally had success!  It’s a scrub jay family.  I should have known.. the birds are so territorial, but I thought that was just their bullying nature.  The baby was … Continue reading Backyard Wildlife… Scrub Jay

“Mommy, look! A deer on the hill!!”

Multiple times a day, ever since my four-year-old son could talk, he exclaims, “Mommy, look!  Mommy, look!  There’s a deer on the hill!!”  Of course, he won’t let up until I take a look.  Today,  his shouts were slightly different.  “Mommy, look! Mommy, look! A teenage boy deer on the hill!!”  Here’s what my son spotted Saturday morning, while we were sitting at the dining … Continue reading “Mommy, look! A deer on the hill!!”

Bring on the Butterflies…

After tons of research, I finally decided what to plant in our yard to attract butterflies.  As you may know, we’ve been creating a backyard wildlife habit, following the guidelines set forth by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). My first goal in creating our butterfly garden was to add plants to our yard that will provide nectar.  Several varieties of Salvia (commonly known as sage) … Continue reading Bring on the Butterflies…

The Hill Before Weed Abatement

The grasses on the hill behind our home are beginning to dry out. That means it’s weed abatement time. We live in fire country, and it’s required that all flammable and combustible growth within thirty feet of our home must be removed each spring. I completely understand the necessity of this requirement, but it makes me sad each year to see the grasses on the … Continue reading The Hill Before Weed Abatement