City dwellers often complain that they don’t see many birds, but in one area of Oakland, California, the raptors are permanent “residents”.
I thought this was a Great Horned Owl perched on a billboard in the early morning hours.
Nope, after a closer look, it turned out to be just a wooden facsimile. Something had removed the right eye of the wooden owl though.
Walking along Temescal Creek in Oakland, I found this wooden replica of a Cooper’s Hawk. From a distance, it looks like the real thing.
However, one can find a surprising number of bird species, even in densely populated urban areas, given the right sort of vegetative cover. In one Oakland backyard, a wide-spreading live oak and a tall sycamore covered with seedpods attracted a variety of bird species you might expect to find only in parks or natural areas.
Chesnut-backed Chickadees explored the nooks in the sycamore seedpods for insects hiding there.
A female Lesser Goldfinch ripped into the seedpods to harvest the seeds.
Anna Hummingbirds used the lower branches of the sycamore as resting or singing perches.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets flitted between branchlets and house walls checking for spiders or insects. These tiny birds moved around even faster than the chickadees did as they searched for prey.
There were other birds in the trees too, but walking to the farmer’s market with my grandson took precedence on this day.