Metallica—The Allen’s Hummingbird

Living in Colorado, we had a pretty easy time identifying the four common hummingbird species. Sounds like a cricket flying by, showing bright red throat feathers?  Broad-tailed. Slender, dark-headed with no rufous or buffiness anywhere?  Black-chinned. So tiny that it has to stretch to reach the feeder port from the perch?  Definitely Calliope. A shock…

Read More

Nature’s Path Back

Wildfire and wildlife—what’s the first image that comes to your mind?  I’m 7 years old, sitting in a darkened movie theater, watching the fire scene in the Disney animated classic Bambi.  Birds, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, our protagonist deer all flee through scorching embers, swirling smoke, and crashing, flaming branches.  That scene seemed to last for…

Read More

Hummingbird Feeders

Feeding hummingbirds can be simple and inexpensive.  Here’s a time- and hummer-tested recipe. Use a 1-to-4 ratio of white table sugar to water (for example, ¼ cup of sugar to 1 cup of water).  Don’t use honey, brown sugar, organic cane sugar, artificial sweeteners—just table sugar. Heat the water in the microwave; in my microwave,…

Read More

It Takes a Village: San Diego’s Acorn Woodpecker

In the 1920s, an American ornithologist called this bird “our native aristocrat—unruffled by the operations of the human plebs…”   In that same decade, an avian researcher proclaimed that these birds practiced communism. More recently, their social behavior has been likened to a noisy avian Keystone Cops routine, featuring loud calling, bobbing, wing displaying, and jockeying…

Read More

In Living Color: Black-headed Grosbeaks are Back in Town

Just before my shift started, I walked into the baby bird room at the wildlife rehabilitation center. A distinctive sound ringing through the room—”WEE-urrr, WEE-urrr”—transported me back more than five years and 1,000 miles. The soundtrack of late summer in the pinyon-juniper habitat of our previous home in the Colorado mountains—baby Black-headed Grosbeaks were in…

Read More

BVAS NATIVE PLANT CLUB NATURE CENTER GARDEN WORK PARTY

Mondays at 10 a.m.—Every Monday morning, the  garden crew gathers at the Nature Center to do a little maintenance work around the native plant garden and trails.  Interested gardeners are invited to join the group for some casual gardening and friendly chatter. Summer is the time for Buckwheat The summer section of a native garden…

Read More

Ridgway’s Rail Release and Monitoring

A pair of captive-bred Ridgway’s rails has begun laying eggs at Sea World.  This is exciting news for wildlife officials who are gearing up for the release of 10 radio-tagged rails at Buena Vista Lagoon in late May or early June. BVAS is signing up volunteers to help monitor the rails following their release, and…

Read More