Thursday, April 12, 2007

They have moved on

We haven't seen the hawks in about a week now. The nest is still in the tree. I think that it must be a squirrel's nest and that the hawks were making snacks out of the baby squirrels. I know that the hawks are still in the general vicinity. I am glad that they were here to welcome us into the new house.

I don't know if the squirrel babies are still there. It is hard to see the nest now that the trees are in full leaf. Most of the trees surrounding our house are live oaks. This means that they lose their leaves in March. They are very modest trees in that they are never completely naked. They start to bloom before all their leaves fall. During this time, you can see through the limbs, but they are not completely bare. It was during this time that we were able to see the nest. Now it is obscured by the new leaves and any little tree rats in the nest are safe from predators such as hawks and crows.

There are still quite a few crows and grackles around. They mess up my car almost every night. (I need to finish working on the antique wash stand that I am restoring so I can get it out of the garage and put my car in it.) Grackles are the scourge of cities in this area. They migrated from Mexico a few years ago and never left. They stay in the live oaks in the winter and in every other tree the rest of the year. There are places downtown where you cannot walk under the trees without holding your breath due to the stench of their waste. photo by Mary Beth Snow
It made national news in January when dozens of them were found dead on Congress Avenue in the wee hours of the morning. It was the first day of our legislative session. Parts of downtown were shut down until the bodies could be removed and it was decided that the air was safe. Later it was found that they had a virus and the cold weather stressed them too much. There has been one other similar incident since then but the street were not shut down. The bizarre thing is that developers are planning new projects downtown and are touting the trees they will plant as making the developments "green". No one is thinking about how many more birds these new trees will attract.

We have beautiful grounds around our state capitol building which sits in the middle of town. A few years ago, a red tail hawk took up residence there and began feeding on the plentiful pigeons. I wish hawks ate grackles.


heartinsanfrancisco said...

Be careful what you wish for. I have seen hawks big enough to eat your car.

seventh sister said...

The big ol' mama that was here was just about big enough to eat my car. I wondered if she would find the next door neighbors' chihuahuas appetizing.

Grackles are another story. I was in Wholel Foods theh day before yesterday and there was one hopping around on the floor nearntheh food bar. People were stepping over it to get to the food. I guess it was hoping for crumbs and spills. No one was paying it much attention.