Tag Archives: Bird Watching

Woohoo – I saw another new bird – a brown thrasher – at my backyard goldfish pond

I love to watch the birds that come to my goldfish pond and bathe and get a drink. This is baby bird season, my favorite time of year, and I’m getting a lot of baby birds coming to my pond for their first bath and drink.

My backyard goldfish pond

My backyard goldfish pond

Yesterday I got a new surprise! I get to add a new bird to my backyard bird watching list as well as my Bird Watching Life List.

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

For the past several weeks, I have seen a flash of a brown bird with a long tail. From what I could tell from my stack of bird watching field guides, it was a brown thrasher, but I could not be sure.

Finally, yesterday, one of them landed at the pond while I was on my bench, and I got a good look at it. Yep, it is a brown thrasher!

I love to get a good look at one of God’s creatures!



Filed under Hobbies, Life in the backyard

Two true stories about lost baby hummingbirds and their parents feeding them

I just watched a YouTube video about a baby hummingbird that reminded me of my own experience with a baby hummingbird.

First, here is the YouTube video:

Now, here is my experience with a baby hummingbird some years back:

Neighborhood children had found a baby hummingbird in their front lawn, and they brought it to me. Since I have pet birds, they thought I would know what to do…

It had all its feathers, but did not know how to fly yet. I figured that its mother and father would be nearby. I put the baby in a birdcage in my backyard, and looked out the window to wait and see.

Sure enough, after a little while one of the parents came and fed the baby through the cage bars! The parent came time after time that afternoon to feed the baby.

The next morning, the baby was gone. Since it was so little, it must have figured out how to get between the cage bars and was able to fly away with its parents.

And they all lived happily ever after….


Note to my friends: I’ve been taking a break from the computer lately. Spring is my favorite time of year and I’ve been spending my spare time outside in God’s creation.

I’ve been watching all the trees and grass turn green, I’ve been watching my goldfish and my lily leaves grow and I’ve been watching baby wild birds come to my goldfish pond for their first drink and bath.

It has been a wonderful change from the gloom of winter.


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Bird watching at my backyard goldfish pond – Another nature study

This is my goldfish pond. The plants are coming back to life after a long winter’s nap:

My backyard goldfish pond

The birds in my neighborhood come often for a drink or a bath. I sat outside yesterday with our dinky digital camera and tried to get some pictures:

Mourning Dove:

Mourning Dove at my goldfish pond

This is some variety of Ring-Necked Dove. They are not indigenous here. I figure some escaped from an aviary and set up a population:

Ringnecked Dove at my goldfish pond

Male European House Sparrow:

Male House Sparrow

Two male Great Tailed Grackles. One is trying to get the other to play “who is more macho”. Whoever can stretch his neck the highest wins:

Two male Great Tailed Grackles

An American Robin in our waterfall stream:

American Robin

I noticed this grackle going around my pond and pulling out seed pods. These seed pods blow out of trees and travel pretty far like helicopters. She must be using them for nesting material. She came back several times to gather more:

Great Tailed Grackle cleans my goldfish pond

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Filed under Goldfish, Life in the backyard, Pets

Bird watching in my backyard – Rats. I came very close to getting a nice picture of a goldfinch

I went out the other day to take a picture of the water lily pads that have come up so far this season. Right when I was holding the camera, a goldfinch landed on our waterfall, and flew right away again. I did not have time to focus or zoom. Dang. This is what I got:

Goldfinch at the waterfall of my goldfish pond

Here is a close-up. I can’t zoom in closer than that or it gets grainy. As I said before, rats:

Goldfinch at the waterfall of my goldfish pond

Around here, I see a goldfinch once or twice each spring. They just pass though on the way to someplace else. I’m happy I was able to get this picture, even though it is not a close-up.

I have a lot of different species of birds who come to my pond, and I’ve tried to take pictures of them all, but the camera is not always with me at the right time.

Some years back, a great egret, a bird three feet tall, landed on my roof and looked down at my pond, thinking about eating my fish. That is one time I did not have a camera with me.

I did, however, get a couple of pictures of the great blue heron, also three feet tall, who came day after day to eat my goldfish…

The Great Blue Heron who ate a third of my goldfish before I caught him in the act

As I said in this post,

I am having mixed feelings about the magnificent Great Blue Heron that’s been visiting our goldfish pond…

I had mixed feelings as a birdwatcher on one hand and a Pet Mom on the other hand. But, I got some pictures of him that are on that post.

I tried a contraption that did not work. It is called a “Koi Kastle”. Read about it here: The squeaky wheel pays no return shipping charges

Also see this post that has the solution to the problem: That great blue heron is never going to eat my fish again!


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That great blue heron is never going to eat my fish again!

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron who ate a third of my fish before I caught him in the act

First nice day of the year, so….Time to clean the goldfish pond!

My hubby just finished cleaning the fishpond for the beginning of the new season. Each winter it gets all yucky. Then the first nice day of spring my hubby takes the filter apart and cleans everything.

All winter, we have had the pond covered with a floating net made for that purpose. It was to keep the heron from eating any more of my fish… ( I am having mixed feelings about the magnificent Great Blue Heron that’s been visiting our goldfish pond… )

Rick the Grandpa Goldfish

This is a Picture of Rick. He is one of the casualties…

The fish who are left are waking up, too. All winter they kind of float on the bottom of the pond in a state of suspended animation. They don’t eat all winter long, either.

Now, though, they are swimming around near the surface. I even say one boy fish chasing after a girl fish….. and that means more babies!

We have lots of room for babies since the Great Blue Heron ate a third of my fish. But, it will be the last time!

 This is our new fish hiding place. I found it in a heating and cooling supply house. It is called a Multifit Wye. It is a fitting for heating and cooling ducts. It is now laying at the bottom of the pond.

I had originally bought a thingy called a Koi Kastle, but it was flimsy plastic, and way too expensive. I returned it. Read about it here: The squeaky wheel pays no return shipping charges

Here is a picture of my new goldfish hiding place from Great Blue Herons. When it warms up, my hubby is going to cover the wye with rocks so it will blend in with the bottom of the pond:

Multifit Wye - The place for my goldfish to hide from the Great Blue Heron

Multifit Wye from General Plastics - The new place for my goldfish to hide from the Great Blue Heron

It is about two and a half feet long with an eight inch opening and two six inch openings. I have been trying to brainstorm up a place where my goldfish can hide so that big bird can’t get to them. Otherwise, they are sitting ducks.

Woohoo. My babies are safe now! I’m happy!



Filed under Goldfish, Life in the backyard

I saw the first Robin of Spring this morning! My backyard will soon be turning green…

American Robin - I did not take this picture An American Robin came to my backyard this morning to assure me that warm weather is coming soon. This California Girl has had more than enough of the snow this Winter! I am so ready for some warmth…

I am so ready for green things to start growing in my backyard! As I mentioned yesterday, my hubby already started my vegetable garden on the kitchen window sill by planting tomato seeds yesterday. (No tomatoes yet!)

In addition to the vegetable garden my hubby is going to plant me, greenery will soon be showing up in our pond…

Every Spring the parrots feather plants start sprouting again and soon spread over the surface. Every Winter I have to pull out the dying plants, but they come back even more lush the next Spring…

And then there are the water lilies. Every Winter they die, and every Spring little bitty shoots start coming up from the bottom of the pond. Every Spring, we get more and more lily leaves on the surface of the pond….

The parrots feather plants and the lilies come back every Spring. But, we will have to buy two or three water hyacinth to float in the top of the waterfall. They will reproduce and it will be all pretty up there.

Yes, it will soon be Spring, but I am cold right now. The good news is that my hubby has a pot of potato corn chowder bubbling on the stove. I’m eating good tonight! My tummy will be nice and warm. Yummy!


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I am having mixed feelings about the magnificent Great Blue Heron that’s been visiting our goldfish pond…

November 29, 2009:

Look at this magnificent Great Blue Heron. He is standing just behind the waterfall of the goldfish pond that my hubby built for me:

Edited to add this picture taken after the next one: (photo taken the next day, November 30)


My hubby, the best hubby in the history of the world, laid on his tummy and took this picture through our doggie door. (Photo taken November 29, 2009)

Great Blue Heron next to our waterfall

This is the most excitement I’ve had in the back yard for a couple of years. Here are two blog entries about similar events:

I am a birdwatcher, and as such I am VERY EXCITED that a magnificent Great Blue Heron has been coming to our pond the last several days. We live in an expansive, yet quiet, housing tract, near a very busy intersection. This is not the usual habitat for Great Blue Herons….

There are many bodies of water in Oklahoma City, yet this heron has chosen our goldfish pond to hang around by lately. It is quite a complement to my hubby’s craftsmanship.

Here is the original, un-cropped, photo, showing more of the waterfall and pond:

Great Blue Heron near pond and waterfall

Besides being a birdwatcher, though, I am a Pet Mom, and as such I am VERY WORRIED about my pet goldfish.

I don’t know if he has eaten any of my pet goldfish yet. Most of them all look alike, and if there was one missing, I would never know. We have more than fifty goldfish, most of them orange, with some white ones and some black ones. The great majority of our goldfish are the descendants of Rick and Ilsa, our two biggest, and oldest, goldfish.

There are very few goldfish with distinguishing marks allowing us to recognize them. (Rocky Raccoon has white patches around his eyes, for instance.)

Great Blue Herons are long legged wading birds. They wade into a body of water until they can look down and see the fish, they they bend their long neck down and grab a fish in their big beak.

With all the times I’ve seen this heron in our backyard, he has never been standing in the water, just next to the pond. In our pond, the first step is a doozy, as the saying goes…

We have a step, about a foot or so down, all the way around, to make it easier to step into the pond for maintenance. The pond is almost three feet deep.

As much as I love seeing this Great Blue Heron, I want him to go to one of the lakes or rivers in town.

I love you, but please go away…..


Edited to add:

November 29: It’s very cold today, so the fish are not moving. I went out and counted them, and only see 27 of them. (they are hard to count when they are all swimming) We had almost 50 the last time we caught them all in order to give the pond a thorough cleaning a few years ago. More have been “born” since then, so we knew we have (had) over fifty by now.

I have to accept the fact that some of our fish have been eaten. Some are trying to hide under leaves that blew into the pond and fell to the bottom. I hope there are more fish that are hiding so well that I can’t see them. I can’t even see Rick and Ilsa. They are our biggest fish. Rick is white, so he would be easy to see. I hope Rick and Ilsa are hiding under the leaves.

I’m on the web researching ways to keep Great Blue Herons away from ponds. Apparently it is a big problem for many pond owners. Herons even take big koi which are hundreds of dollars each. Koi have short tails. We like goldfish with long flowing tails, and they are a lot less expensive.

There are many, many very expensive ways to keep away Great Blue Herons, and none of them work, according to pond community message boards I’ve been searching.

We’ve decided that rather than standing at the window in awe that we are going to teach our doggies to chase the herons away. Maybe that will work.

Wish us luck…


Edited to add December 1:

A big Thank You goes out to everybody for all of the suggestions. I appreciate hearing from fellow animal lovers who understand my feelings.

After further researching the topic on the web, discussing at all the available products and options with my hubby, and visiting our local pond store last night, we decided on Pond Netting. The price is more reasonable than plastic herons and motion detector sprinklers (which won’t work here anyway because the water freezes).

Now, we have a physical barrier between my fish and the herons. Unless the herons figure out how to lift the rocks holding it down, and roll it up, my fish will be alright. It’s not pretty, but having my fish survive is more important. Whew. That was fun, {she said facetiously}.


Edited to add: Also see this post that has the solution to the problem: That great blue heron is never going to eat my fish again!


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Filed under Life in the backyard, Pets