Since moving to a different part of the neighborhood last June, I’ve noticed something missing. Birds! At the old house, the garden was popping with birds every morning – as were the gardens of surrounding neighbors. Now, these are mostly tiny “backyard” gardens (single-family homes in our part of SF do not have “side yards” or “front yards”; most don’t even have spaces between adjoining houses), a very few of which were lucky enough to have one big established tree, like a fir, or a eucalyptus. But birds were everywhere, singing and dining. Mostly your garden variety Little Brown Jobs, lots of hummingbirds, the occasional house finch, warbler, kinglet, a pair of flickers, mourning doves, etc.
The new place has a huge, non-fruiting avocado tree in the back, a bouganvilla, and an enormous prickly pear cactus. Plus shrubby stuff that we’ve added. A house right behind ours has a old acacia in full flower. Another has what looks like a fruiting pomelo tree.
But no birds!
Well, OK, there is one scrub jay who mouths off from the avocado tree every once in awhile, and from time to time a zillion starlings will swarm briefly on the telephone wires out in front, and then vanish. I can’t figure it out: there are fewer dogs on this block than on the old one, and fewer outdoor cats… But we’re also closer to the highways, now, with nonstop traffic noise and grit.
I’m stumped. But last weekend I set up the bird(less) feeder station you see above. So far, no takers. The jay landed on the hook yesterday and yelled for a minute, but did not dine. Perhaps it will take awhile for word to spread. Maybe I should leaflet the area like the Chinese restaurants do — I’ll hang menus on the trees and shrubs of surrounding blocks, urging the birds to visit and sample my fortified hummingbird juice, my delectable seed selection, the neighbor’s pomelos…