Water Feature

We have a small water feature off our back porch. It’s probably about 300 square feet in size, holding maybe 2000 gallons of water. In addition to nest boxes around the property and bird feeders in the yard, the water feature is our most efficient wildlife magnet. Birds, in particular, can’t resist running water.

Even though Eurasian Collared-Doves have encroached on my property, I still enjoy the company of Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura).

Mourning Dove

The birds don’t just drink from various parts of the water feature, they bathe in it too! Like this young male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna).

Anna's Hummingbird Immature

Even though there are several spots where different species can take baths at their leisure, this male Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) decided to evict a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) that was really enjoying itself!

Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Male Lesser Goldfinch

In addition to my regulars at the pond, this past week included several migratory species…

Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) and a Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)…

Yellow Warbler

a female Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)…

Western Tanager Female

and a real rarity in my yard, a Black-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens).

Black-throated Gray Warbler

I also added a new surprise species to my yard list, a Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)!

Northern Mockingbird

The winter before last I had a Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) stay the entire winter here. I have one visiting again now. I hope he stays for awhile too.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

This female Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) is enjoying the water during her southern migration.

Rufous Hummingbird Female

So who are some of my “regulars?” The recently renamed California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)…

California Scrub-Jay

the  California Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) 

California Ground Squirrel

and the Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus).

Jack Rabbit

I put together a short video of the water feature and its recent visitors. I hope you enjoy it.

I’ll leave you with this shot of a molting male House Finch (Carpodacus cassinii) taking a bath.

House Finch Male Molting

Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.