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Our History in Birds (continued)

Blue JayWithin five years of our moving to this nice, semi-rural neighborhood the bulldozers arrived. They have built houses on every possible lot, most of them twice and even three times the square footage of our house, but a fraction of the yard. Zero lot, they call it, and this is supposedly an asset. The scrub jay has moved on, as have most of the more interesting sparrows.

As our oaks have grown, warblers have begun to hang out in them during migrations. One day, I had one of those terrific experiences where you see one exotic-looking little bird after another, almost faster than you can identify them and write them down. So much fun.

The Herons

Our pond had its own following. When we first built it, goldfinches came to drink. Then our fish population grew in size and number until a heron arrived, a great blue no less, and ate all but the tiniest fish. We had one fish that we rescued from the pet store. He was nine inches long and pale from sad confinement in a small fish bowl. The store owner, a friend of ours, gave him to us. We put him in the pond where he happily turned bright orange and grew three more inches. I saw the flash of gold as the heron tossed him up in the air and caught him with that big long beak. Sad. Here they were, tasty looking:

Pond with fish

The great blue was followed by a green heron, who ate absolutely all the fish. The pond has fallen into disrepair (this summer's project!), but in so doing, it has become more accessible to everyday birds, its sides less steep, with available shallows. Now our regulars, the cardinals and jays, amuse us with their bathing. And the house sparrows fight among themselves over the bathing order.



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