Alice and Ralph

and other honorable mentions

Ralph and Alice are busy prepping the nest. They are not in residence, yet. They are customizing first. Every morning they show up with their little list of “to do’s” and spend the day doing it. Then comes evening – they roost elsewhere. We’re so happy they like the location and nest. They are totally at ease.
 
Did I mention that our walkway gardens are a favorite for the rabbits to have their babies. Drives me friggin nuts. With all the landscaping available to them … they pick our walkway. I have tried to discourage them … but they know us and ignore me.  Just the other day, I was in the garage and I heard banging on the gate.  I walked out and there was Rabbit.  She wanted to come into our patio and I’m like … no.  She’ll probably have them in last years nest.  Last year we ended up with six babies running all over the place. I’d walk out on my patio (nest in walkway, but our patio and our friends, next door, are the neighborhood the first explore.  Last year I ended up having to rescue 2 … and I’m like (talking to the divine) what the frig? You know I can’t handle this type of stuff anymore!!! You know I’m neurotic about this crap. ENOUGH!!!!!  Just like the rabbit…the divine ignores me.
 
[And that’s how I found out – years ago – that the divine also has a warped sense of humor.  When we first moved here … we had birdfeeders over the place.  We spent hours and hours just watching them come and go, take a bath, have arguments, little pool parties… and I have always considered our home, the closest thing to heaven I would experience on planet earth.  And then Isaboe arrived – our resident Cooper’s Hawk – in 2003. I believe she was displaced by the Cedar Fire Complex… and has never left. She has given us more than 40 chicks – successfully raised to juvenile and leaving the area (there is always one that is last, the ‘runt’, I think a female, who mom has to force to learn to feed/hunt by actually leaving the complex. She runs away for a while.  The baby calls for mom non-stop and then will start taking little trips but always returning at night. Then one day… finally… it gets quiet again except for the songbirds and we know she has left.  Shortly thereafter, Isaboe will return and announce her arrival. I always greet her. We have a complicated relationship. In all these years, we only had to rescue one of her babies. 
BTW, once we realized we had a predator in residence, all the feeders were removed (weened) … [said to my husband that I had an “issue” with setting the birds (and other creatures that consumed seed) up for attack by a predator.  (Izzy would do a fly-by and snatch.)  We have the birdbath (that she also uses along with the crows, the owls, the raccoons, and anything else that visits us at night) in a position where no ambush can occur.  That’s why I was insistent we get another tree after the HOA took down our liquidambar.  The birds lost a perch close to the birdbath and had to fly a distance to safety across the commons. High risk for interception.  In a successful legal challenge to the HOA, we planted two trees … one, a camphor, is about 20′ tall now, and the liquidambar we planted just a few years ago – in the same area as the one they took down, is now just shy 15′ (maybe) providing the perfect hangout for the little guys and hummers. In the Camphor, we get flocks of bluebirds, cedar waxwings, goldfinches, orioles, phoebe’s, towhee’s,  that hop, skip and a jump into the “pool”.  And yes … I rinse with fresh water no less than 3 times a day. It’s the least I can do. 
We have the eager kids perched, in waiting.  Husband will be filling the bath for the late day plunge.. and they fly in,  land, act surprised to see the big human with the hose (not) … and fly back to the trees.  It’s their way of saying “hurry up”.  The hummers will come over and do fly-throughs.  
The minute we stop and step back they fly in. We call them “pool parties”.