2202 S. Coast Highway Oceanside, CA 92054

Posts by Tina Mitchell

Season Tweetings – Nature’s Winter Serenade

Fee odi-odi zeeee-zaaaa-zoooo.  Nope.  Seee zreee chidli-chidli chi-chi-chi.  Not that either.  See sitli-sitli ti-ti-ti-ti-zrrrr.  Good grief, not even close.  Let’s face it.  Humans really can’t recreate this avian song on paper—a sorry statement about our language limitations rather than a reflection of this lilting song.   Generally in early to mid-November, this familiar song—a long,…

Read More

Uncommonly Intelligent – Ravens at the Top of the Class

Call a despicable person “pond scum” and I take offense on behalf of pond scum everywhere.  Scoop up a handful of pond scum and you might actually be looking at diminutive, individual aquatic plants or even blue-green algae such as spirulina, which some health food fans herald.  Think someone is, um, “bat-guano crazy?”  Bats the…

Read More

Home For the Holidays…It’s a Risky Decision

Let’s say you’re a bird.  Your breeding area this spring and summer abounded with budding plants, fresh fruits, nutritious insects—plenty for you and the kids you raised.  But what about the coming fall and winter?  To paraphrase the Clash, should you stay or should you go?   In San Diego County, a number of species…

Read More

Day Care Gone Wild!

At best, it’s a bit confusing and startling.  Some people even use emotion-laden words such as “heart-breaking” or “sad.”  No telling how you might feel the first time you see a small bird such as a Song Sparrow working like crazy to feed a begging cowbird youngster more than twice its size.  But one thing…

Read More

California Gnatcatcher: Hero of the Coastal Sage Scrub Habitat

Heading down the trail from the San Elijo Lagoon parking lot, he played a wheezy, kitten-mewing type of call on his phone.  “That’s what we’re listening for.”  This good friend and avid birder from Colorado was on a mission—to find a California Gnatcatcher.  Searing that call into our brains, we followed our ears to find…

Read More

Songs in the Air

I’m walking with the dog shortly before sunrise one spring morning, heading down the riparian path.  It’s a peaceful time for us humans and canines.  But once I shift my awareness, I can hear the air crackling with communications.  “Chup-ZEEEEE (Spotted Towhee). TEEKTEEKTEEK eek-eek-eek-eek-eek-eek  (California Towhee). WITCHity-WITCHity-WITCHity  (Common Yellowthroat)  oo-AH-ooooo-oo-oo  (Mourning Dove). Sis-SEE sit-SEEW sis-SEE…

Read More

Nest Boxes & Cavity Nesting Birds

Birdhouses come in all shapes, sizes, and styles.  They can be eye-catching pieces of art that delight humans.  Or they can be very plain boxes that focus solely on what a bird might want, with little concern for what a human might think.  And they can fall anywhere between those two extremes.  But a very…

Read More

Who’s Awake? The story of the Great Horned Owl

Who’s awake?  Me too!  Who’s awake?  Me too! This series of five rhythmic, muffled, slightly eerie hoots—all on one pitch—wafts through the darkness this time of year.  The sentinel taking attendance is the Great Horned Owl.  Measuring nearly two feet from head to tail, the Great Horned is the largest and most widespread owl in…

Read More

Bringing Back the Ridgway’s Rail-and its Habitat

Call someone “thin as a rail” and what are you really saying? Thin as a bed rail?  As a train rail?  A chair rail? None of the above, actually.  The phrase refers to a family of birds called “rails” that tend to frequent marshes. One rail local to San Diego County has gained modest renown…

Read More

The Tricolored Blackbird: Next on the Endangered List?

One evening last fall, on a restaurant deck overlooking Oceanside Harbor, I watched House Sparrows skitter around the floor, searching out crumbs.  A larger bird caught my eye and I thought, “Red-winged Blackbird.”  Then he uttered a noise rather like a snarling cat.  Or maybe an irritated chicken.  Okay—that’s no Red-winged Blackbird.  A closer look…

Read More