Our yard is a bed-and-breakfast for all sorts of wildlife. Rabbits, little brown birds I’ve dubbed sparrows, the occasional outdoor cat on the prowl. I’ve never seen a coyote in our yard, but they march down the street, evenings and nights, like they’re leading a Mardi Gras parade.
In a preemptive move to keep the birds from eating our (potential) garden bounty, I decided to put up a bird feeder. Plus, I like birds, so it was an appealing idea all around. Since the vegetable garden is in the backyard, my brilliant fake-out was to put the bird feeder on the porch in the front yard. Then I added a hanging bird water bowl, which has been mostly ignored. The added bonus was hours of safe, if frustrating, cat entertainment as Anna and Clementine can watch the birds from our front window.
Within a few hours of hanging the feeder, the porch was swarmed with birds, including a couple of rival swallow gangs from the sound of their pissed off chirping. And they’re messy little buggers; bird seed absolutely covers the porch now. Which attracts bigger birds. A few days ago, a dove divebombed the feeder only to pull up short and land on a porch post. Then it swooped down and pecked at the spilled seed.
Today I was sitting on the couch reading when a large flying object barreling toward the house caught my eye. I did a double-take, because (holy crap) it was a young hawk. Jonathan Livingston Hawk tried to land on the swallow-sized feeder, failed, and ended up in the rosemary bush below. S/He didn’t peck at the spilled seed, but rather lurked in the bush and then flew over to a tree in the front yard. J.L. Hawk kept coming back over to the porch and the bush for two hours, when it finally dawned on me that s/he wasn’t interested in the seeds, s/he was hunting swallows. Fortunately, being a young (and let’s face it, fairly dim-witted) hawk, s/he didn’t catch any prey in my front yard. S/He left hungry, since bird seed wasn’t to her/his liking.
But, wowser! A hawk right on my front porch. It was so cool. And my dingbat cats and kids missed the entire show.