A significant appeal of living here in the San Bernardino Mountains, some of which I wrote yesterday, is the wildlife. Many varieties of birds frequent our yards and sometimes we consult bird guide books as we try to identify them. We have feeders which work out well, except that we have so many squirrels, beautiful squirrels, fat ones, and with long bushy tails.The squirrels drive Jerry crazy. They won't leave the bird food alone, climb right into the feeders and dig around, while eating prodigiously. They flick their feather-duster tails, and fling bird food to the ground. Last year, Jerry decided to outsmart the critters, fastening around the post that holds the main feeder, a thin sheet of galvanized metal. It kept those rascals out not at all. They easily scamper up the metal and help themselves to the tasty morsels. I love the squirrels, but I have to admit they annoy me sometimes, for they delight in digging in my flower pots, burying acorns, nibbling on petals, and then they paw around as they try to find the acorns they buried. Their memories must be abysmal. They're quite tame, often come on our deck while we sit there, and I believe they would eat from our hands. We don't chance that, though, for fear of a friendly nip.
Two varieties of blue birds come often into our yards: Stellars and scrub jays. The scrubs are so friendly they eat peanuts from our hands. Once, as he was reading the paper, one of them flew onto Jerry's shoulder–scared the liver out of him. Humming birds come often, and I spied this one as she sipped nectar from a rose. She lingered, flew away, then returned to feed again.
Yesterday, I discovered a most remarkable video of a bird. The Lyrebird is a jungle bird who amazingly mimics other birds and human sounds. It is an awesome three or four minute film. The sounds that come from this bird are astonishing. Among others, you will hear a camera winding, a chainsaw, and a car alarm–all coming from the throat of a bird.