Red-Tailed Hawk

A noticeable decline in birdseed consumption in our back yard has us wondering: what’s changed? There’s a new cat prowling the neighborhood, and we’ve had a couple of Santa Ana wind events. The birdseed didn’t smell rancid. Why the downturn in our feeder traffic? This juvenile red-tailed hawk might be a key.  Notice that itContinue reading “Red-Tailed Hawk”

Western Snowy Plover

Malibu Lagoon is the only place in the Santa Monica Mountains where freshwater drains to the Pacific. Malibu Creek’s watershed is a valuable source of water for much wildlife and feeds the lagoon.  The estuary’s water level fluctuates, depending on rainfall and the tides’ impact on Surfrider Beach. Water morphs from freshwater at the Creek,Continue reading “Western Snowy Plover”

Cactus Wren

Joshua Tree National Park is a treasure of geologic wonders that impress with each turn in the road. A bit of patience is required to spot animal residents.  We recently visited the park and saw this cactus wren. This species is a non-migratory song bird ranging from southeastern California to southern Arizona and New Mexico.Continue reading “Cactus Wren”

Pigeon Guillemot

During a recent walk on the commercial wharf in Monterey Bay, California, we spotted several pairs of pigeon guillemots near the sea lions. They are impossible to miss with their neon red legs, and sporty black and white feathers. A member of the auk family, and related to murres and puffins, pigeon guillemots are found fromContinue reading “Pigeon Guillemot”

Turning to Terns

NOTE: Identifying terns can be tricky, and for this post I am indebted to Chuck Almdale who graciously shared his knowledge.  After an absence of several months, and newly returned from their wintering grounds in Central America, the Elegant Terns are back at Zuma Beach. With their distinct tufted crest feathers and yellowy-orange beaks, theyContinue reading “Turning to Terns”

Northern Mockingbirds

Today, a guest post from Bob Yates. If I could interview a mockingbird after one of its concerts on a power line near me, I think my first question would be: “Who are your major influences?” Admission to these shows is free. They feature medleys from lower registers to high in the same breath, from CarusoContinue reading “Northern Mockingbirds”

Cooper’s Hawk

We’ve had a feeder up since Christmas, and are attracting lesser goldfinches, house finches, fox sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, juncos, mourning doves and California towhees. And now, their chittering attracted the attention of the neighborhood Cooper’s hawk population. We’d previously seen one standing at the edge of and in the birdbath, and they’re frequently observed perching on utility poles during ourContinue reading “Cooper’s Hawk”

Love is in the Air

A mid-February visit to the Malibu Lagoon did not disappoint. The water level was quite low, resulting in fewer birds and species. At midday, California brown pelicans were preening on islets in the middle of Malibu Creek, surrounded by gulls and cormorants.  Several pelicans sported poppy red breeding plumage on their necks.   The light blue eyes are aContinue reading “Love is in the Air”

American Coots

American Coots were easily spotted on a recent visit to the Malibu Lagoon. A fresh water basin in Western Los Angeles County, the restored estuary once again hosts a variety of birdlife year around, fed by water draining out of Malibu Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. The level of the water was low onContinue reading “American Coots”

Cooper’s Hawk

A juvenile cooper’s hawk recently stepped into our birdbath.   https://youtu.be/6YXhTKHQmgk   This was the first time since the trail cameras were installed that we had a sighting on film. We had already seen one fly into the oleander hedge and swiftly emerge with something in its talons. I’d never seen a raptor in a birdbath.Continue reading “Cooper’s Hawk”