Sunday, April 29, 2007

The local wildlife

One might wonder, what kind of ranch is this? There are no horses, pigs, cattle, or livestock. There is one dog and one cat. That's a pretty sorry excuse for a ranch. It's true.

But the animals are everywhere.

A flock of California quail can often be seen scraping and pecking in the grass, making a wide variety of sounds.

For awhile Popsey was convinced there was a little girl in the neighborhood who spent every morning squealing "WOWEEE! WOWEE! WOWEE!" I tried to tell him it was a bird noise, but it really did sound human. Like a human who was very easily impressed. It turned out that's just what quail sound like.

In bird books one of their calls is described as sounding like "Chi-ca-go! Chi-ca-go!" A friend once said it sounds like "Cerveza! Cerveza!" (You can tell what was on his mind). To us it sounds like "It's my pond! It's my pond!"

Over the years I've wondered if there is a heard of angry jackals around here, until I realized it was just the boy next door who is very enthusiastic about his slip 'n slide.

A wild turkey once showed up and stayed for a week before flying off to find her flock, which we later spotted at the llama ranch several miles away.

And of course, there are the hummingbirds. We had feeders set up in the past, but took them down. We wanted them to find natural nectar sources and not become dependent on us. Instead, we planted any species of plant we could find that is a good food source for hummingbirds and butterflies.

But we decided we wanted to keep them here over the winter if possible, and if they run out of nectar sources they will usually migrate to a different place, possibly a neighbor's house with feeders. Finding the nest also revived our interest, and we want to encourage more of that.

Popsey came home the other day with three new feeders. Now we have a total of five. We numbered them, like tables in a restaurant, so we have some way to reference them:

"Five on one!"

"Two's empty."

"Ants on four."

"Mold on three."


This morning I was doing my hummingbird chores, boiling up the sugar water, cleaning the feeders, and refilling them. While I stood at the kitchen sink washing the bottles, one flew down to the location of a feeder, looked around wondering where it was, zoomed over the house to the other side where another feeder was missing, and then flew over to the kitchen window and glared in at me as if to say, "Hey, lady, hurry it up will ya?"

For such diminutive birds, they can be very stern and demanding.


  1. I had to laugh at the hummer coming to the window. People think I am crazy when I tell people they do that. I swear ours come to the kitchen (feeders are on the other side of the house) to say goodbye when the time comes for them to leave for the sunny south. Glad to read about yours!

  2. I was just talking with my mom today about putting up my feeders. Lovely pictures.
    Our ranch is much the same, no cows, pigs etc. still a ranch though.

  3. threecollie,
    That's so cute that they say goodbye when they leave! They're demanding, but also courteous. Thanks for sharing that.

    Hi Janet!