Something for Bird Lovers

by Mike Davison, 2021

Serrano Park is fortunate to have large green areas and an abundance of mature trees. With trees comes a variety of birds. We love birds of all kinds … unless we are trying to sleep during a disagreement between an owl and some crows.

On one of the hottest days on record last year, this Cooper’s hawk was watching a squirrel in my backyard. The hawk was hot and panting. The squirrel was laying on a damp spot of dirt trying to stay cool while keeping an eye on the hawk.

If we pay attention, we can find nests of many species of birds in our trees. It is essential that we do not disturb nesting birds. It might interest some to know that Great Scott Tree Services, our current contractor for trimming our large trees, has a policy for avoiding to disturb active nests. Their crews are trained and certified through the TLC Wildlife Aware Program and ISA. Their policy for protecting nests can be downloaded here.

Humming Bird Nectar: (makes 6.25 cups)
(20% sugar, 80% water, .04% Potassium Sorbate)

5 cups purified water
1.25 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp potassium sorbate 25% solution

Combine ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Let it cool only slightly before filling clean glass feeders. This helps to kill anything growing in the feeder. Clean any mold from the bottom part of the feeder. Let cool before tightening the plastic bottom onto the glass

Replace unused nectar in the feeder every 2-3 weeks. Sooner if mold is seen.

Adding the potassium sorbate greatly reduces the risk of forming molds for a few weeks and the very small concentration is not harmful to birds, while the mold is very harmful. Without the preservative, unused nectar must be replaced in about 3 days.

Potassium Sorbate solution (25% by volume):
1 part potassium sorbate powder per 3 parts water. Heat to near boiling in microwave oven to sterilize. OK to store at room temperature. It does not expire.

This dove with the black mark on the neck is not native to California. In the US it is illegal to capture doves so a lot of doves are imported from Africa for releasing at ceremonies. These African doves seem to like living here.

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