29
Aug
09

How have you improved your BQ?

Reply by cc on August 2, 2008 at 7:50am
Hey Bosque Bill, I do want to comment that where we live up in Alameda – old farming area that is getting filled in – our neighbors yard has been for decades the nesting ground for a pair of roadrunners. I have watched them from my desk frolic in their mating in the front yard, then heard the mournful late winter mating call from the birds on their roof perched above our driveway. They would hop the fence over into our yard all the time to get snails, bless them.

Well, guess what? After our wonderful neighbors passed away and the daughters sold the property, a very nice family bought the property and fixed it up to rent. BUT they knocked down all the cover in their attempts to improve the yard! They made it too neat! Tall beautiful dense pines cut down, bushes scraped so the corners of the fences and the ground were all clean. They neglected to water any of the trees in the yard for many months and a number of the shrubs and trees that were left died. Needless to say, no roadrunner courting took place this past winter spring – and didn’t see a roadrunner around!

Good news is they recently installed a timered sprinkler system and planted grass back on the dirt lawn. All over the yard the plants and trees are getting watered again on a regular basis (our elder passed neighbors would water diligently with their old drinking water well as well as plant a chile and veggie filed each summer from saved seeds!). Just two days ago a roadrunner appeared in our yard to eat our grapes. I am so happy and hope this means the area might be a habitat for these roadrunners again.

On another note – to reply to your original request finally — the grapes that we have had all these 20 plus years here are a very important lure for birds. They are an old variety that the folks who had this place for 3 years before us put in – small purple with lots of seeds – great for juice and wine. Well – most every year we let the crops go to the birds. When they are allowed to dry up we have had flickers come in the winter to harvest them. And the last 3 or 4 years the funniest thing – about now – late July as the grapes start to turn purple, we have this group of fledging out robins come and eat every last grape, pooping their purple poops on our windshields. How do they remember to come back when they are just newborns? They have the orange on their bottom breast and their baby stripes still on the top near their necks. Last year I had put up netting only on one section of vine to try to save some of the grapes and the net caught and killed one poor robin – I didn’t find it until the winter when its body was all desecrated – tangled so completely I gave away my netting and won’t try that again. I prefer to feed the birds. And we do have lots of cover in our much smaller yard, tho we have cats…

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