Sunday, April 6, 2008


Although my pet birds spend a lot of time outside of their bird cages, which provides some sense of freedom, it is a far cry from what a wild bird enjoys. While inability to fly saddens me, I'm grateful they have adapted well to their life in captivity.

Perhaps my frustration over my pets being unable to fly free is one of the reasons I enjoy bird watching. It is inspiring to watch the wild ones fly about, coming and going as they wish.

Living with and learning about my incredible pet birds, earning their trust and becoming their friend is an experience I would not trade for anything in the world. I'm blessed for the experience. They truly are my passion. At the same time, bird watching offers the opportunity to observe natural behavior providing a special joy of its own.

Bird watching and backyard bird feeding is alive and well in my area.
I live in a semi-rural area of northern San Diego county with a lot of nurseries, avocado and citrus groves, etc. It's an area with a strong natural and agricultural flavor ... a place that wild birds and creatures populate and is a wonderful place to live.

I spoke to a neighbor one day and discovered that a mountain lioness would bring her cubs to drink water from their pond every year. The pond adjoins a vast undeveloped area. They never considered trying to discourage the mountain lion, but rather enjoyed the fascinating spectacle. Fortunately, the mountain lion just drinks water and then moves off to the less inhabited areas. Another neighbor found a coyote nursing her cubs on the back deck of the home he was trying to purchase. The home had been empty for awhile ... evidently long enough for
the momma coyote to feel comfortable enough to bring her youngsters there. We have a lot of coyotes in the area and I've even seen them crossing the street while on a couple of my walks. These examples might explain the degree to which wild creatures still inhabit our area. However, most of the animals I'm personally able to enjoy are cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels, rare visits of a ferret or two, and the peacocks. The wild song birds, raptors, etc. are another whole subject to chat about another time.

Even though peacocks and peahens are not "wild" in the truest sense of the word, they aren't
domesticated either. We have some peacocks in our area that roam free and several of them seem to like our property enough to be regular visitors and they hang around during the day. Currently, a pair has found an inviting place to roost on our tile roof in the evening, too. I enjoy them a lot ... they are beautiful ... and I get a kick out of watching them admire their reflection in the chrome wheels of my SUV or in several of the glass-paned doors leading into my home. They also like to nap on our deck. My baby Jardine Parrot likes to visit with peacocks through the glass door. They seem fascinated by the little parrot, but will move away from the deck if any of my pet birds are outside on their playgyms.

Over the past several years peahens have made regular visits with their babies in tow. I've enjoyed watching the young ones grow up. Male peacocks have been regular visitors, too,
usually sticking close together attesting to their immaturity. I've never seen a mature male in the company of a female until this month. A very handsome couple spent their day with us. The peacock was courting the hen, fanning his tail and strutting about for over 2 hours providing the opportunity to take a bunch of photos ... two of which I've included here. It was fascinating to watch him display but I couldn't tell if the peahen was as impressed as I was. However, I did notice them taking a nap on the deck a little while later, so I guess she's still looking him over :). Maybe this attraction will ultimately produce some babies. I hope so, as it is truly a joy to watch the young ones grow up.