Saturday, September 3, 2022

Backyard Birdfeeder

The onset of Covid led to my gradual conversion to a birder which led to bird feeders in the backyard. We've had bird feeders previously, primarily for hummingbirds and orioles, but also seed feeders. The thing that's really changed is my interest in the birds. I'm enjoying them more. Although the title is ostensibly about birds, our backyard (and front yard) has been a source of varied wildlife encounters over the years. 
Our neighbors' tree has had a few great horned owl nests over the years and some fun encounters with the owls, particularly the youngster that fell out of the nest and was stranded in our front bushes for a few hours. Beautiful eyes.

Our neighbors' trees have also housed Cooper's hawk nests over the years and we have fallen in love with the Cooper's hawks.  

I have seen multiple coyotes in our yard and a gorgeous gray fox, but never when I've had a camera in hand. 
We have had multiple snakes in our yard, usually found by Judy when I'm not home. One beautiful little king snake was found by Judy in warm sheets just out of the dryer, inside our home. It was named "Tide" (after the laundry detergent) and was a pet for awhile. One Sunday as I was walking to my car parked in the driveway I saw a Southern Pacific rattlesnake stretched out just below my driver-side door. I caught it and transported it to our nearby canyon. Judy saw a red racer (coachwhip) in our yard earlier this year and between our yard and our neighbor's yard we have had other king snakes, gopher snakes and a rosy boa. 
King snake

Red coachwhip

Rattlesnake next to car. 

Same rattlesnake - letting it go in canyon. 

Rosy boa
My most surprising find was a huge bullfrog on our back patio. I let it go in my friends large pond in nearby Live Oak Canyon, where it joined others of its kind. 
Bullfrog in backyard.

We've had skunks, raccoons unraveling new sod looking for bugs. We've had opossums, including one in the trap we set out for the raccoons that were unraveling our sod. Our cat, years ago, left a dead weasel in our yard, whether it originated in our yard or not, I don't know. 
Striped skunk in our garage.

Opossum eating out of cat food bowl on back porch.

Opossum caught in yard.
The bird feeder has brought California scrub-jays, acorn woodpeckers, California towhees, spotted towhees, white-crowned sparrows, house finches, white-breasted nuthatches, mourning doves, mountain chickadees, song sparrows and other birds. 
Red-shouldered hawk on neighbor's roof. 

Acorn woodpecker
Band-tailed pigeon

California scrub-jay

California towhee

Dark-eyed junco

House finch

Lesser goldfinch

Mountain chickadee

Mourning dove

Northern red-shafted flicker


Song sparrow

Spotted towhee

Western gray squirrel

White-breasted nuthatch

White-crowned sparrow


  1. How do you safely transport a rattle snake?

  2. Wildlife in the yard has definitely led to a wild life for our family. Good run down of many (but not all) of our wild-animals-in-the-yard experiences.

  3. I have a snake stick that was given to me by Rachael and Judy for Christmas many years ago. That enables catching the snake without much danger. Then I put the snake in an aquarium with a lid to transport it.