Breakfast Buddies?

With rain in the forecast, yesterday morning was a good time to get down and dirty in the garden–both mine and my sister-in-law’s.  Living in a somewhat arid climate, I take advantage of the wet stuff from the sky to dig and plant.  For my garden, it was about clearing out some Barbados cherry, Malpighia glabra, which colonizes with verve, and for my sister-in-law’s garden, it was transplanting those rogue bits of shrub-with-root to a new home:  to grow, be beautiful, and provide cover and fruit for birds, and nectar and pollen for pollinators.

I was out early, not too long after sunup, mulling the day ahead, when I spotted our neighborhood Red-tailed HawkButeo jamaicensis, high up in a winter-bared tree.

The tree sits on a property belonging to the street adjacent to mine;  I don’t know whether it’s a front or back garden tree, but it’s at some distance from my front garden.  For this once, I wish my camera owned just a little more scope moxie.

Still, it’s not a bad shot.

As I aimed my lens at the hawk, a gaggle of Great-tailed Grackles, Quiscalus mexicanus, fluttered onto another set of branches.  Grackles are chatty and gregarious; perhaps they wanted to keep the hawk company on this grey morning?  Or maybe they  wanted to share tips on the best places for breakfast?

My guess?  They wanted to watch her–like a hawk!

I soon got to work:  back and forth from my garden to my SIL’s, I excised the mini-shrubs, checking the roots’ viability, then chucking those which passed the test into the bin.  I dragged that bin to SIL’s garden, where I proceeded to dig and plant, allowing new starts to this valuable native plant.  As I moved from her garden to my own, I noticed that the hawk kept sentry in the tree, sometimes with company, sometimes alone.  She moved a couple of times, but mostly preened and observed, feathers ruffling in the morning breeze, intelligent eyes watchful.

Eventually, a Blue JayCyanocitta cristata, settled in, just below the hawk.  The hawk and the jay hung out.  What do two birds talk about?  Did you sleep okay last night? What did you have for breakfast?  Do you have any friends or relatives I can eat?

After about two hours of my work and the hawk’s perch, she was gone from the tree when I finished.

As far as I am aware, no bird ate breakfast and no bird was breakfast.

Please check out Anna’s at Flutter and Hum for garden–and other–musings.

14 thoughts on “Breakfast Buddies?

  1. We had the same idea. I got to work yesterday too and finally planted some winter annuals I bought a month ago. I can’t believe the Bluejay did not “yell” at the hawk. My birds go nuts when a predator shows up. I saw the Barred Owl the other day around 11:00am. I was alerted by the birds and the owl flew over me to get away.

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    • Funnily enough, there was one point where 5 or 6 jays rushed to my other neighbor’s tree, commenced squawking. I guess they were quite brave enough to do it in the same tree as the hawk. 🙂 You’re right though, it’s usually obvious that a predator is around with all the alarm calls.

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  2. Great photos, Tina! And I’m so excited for you – having your SIL’s garden next door will pretty much double your expanse to plant in, when your collection of fabulous plants need dividing. I saw a Bald Eagle surrounded by a murder of Crows a few months. I kept wondering how they dared go so near such an obvious danger, but maybe you’re right. Maybe they do talk. And maybe Bird World is like the average high school campus. There are the cool kids, the bullies, the suck-ups, and all the others. Food for thought, indeed – thanks for joining in!

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    • Thanks, Anna. That’s so exciting about the eagle. I remember seeing them just about every time I visited Oregon, though see them only rarely here. Mostly the smaller prey birds cause a stink when there’s a predator, but I’ve seen it before, this flocking to the same tree as the hawk and just sort of sitting there. Maybe they know the hawk isn’t hungry? Maybe it’s a dare? Maybe they work in the ‘strength in numbers’ modality? Who knows?!! They’re still fun to watch.

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  3. I really like winter photos of birds; I like the way they’re not obscured by the branches, and I like the way the bare branches themselves look. I finally am hearing some bluejays, but I haven’t sighted one yet. They are great alarm-callers, though. Between them and the squirrels, I always know when something threatening has moved into the area.

    My great gardening success was the transplantation of the duranta. I was a little worried about it at first, as it dropped a lot of leaves, but now that has stopped. It was wildly scraggly, so I went ahead and pruned it back, and now it seems quite happy. I’ve noticed that the sun’s moved far enough north that I’m getting a little morning sunlight on my patio. It doesn’t last long, but I’m beginning to think I’ll have more sun in the summer than I’ve anticipated. It will be interesting to see how things develop. At least you know what conditions you’ll have in your SIL’s yard. I’ll have to wait to find out — except I already know that the strong north winds don’t affect anything on the patio at all. That’s certainly good!

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    • Yeah, it’s gonna be fun and I think she’s enjoying her space. She’s already gotten the down-n-dirty of gardening under her skin, so, really, like you and me, she’s lost. 🙂

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