Recently I found a baby bird in my small backyard. Our meeting reminded me of the scene from the movie “E.T the Extra-Terrestial” when Gertie got her first look at E.T. Mutual cries of surprise erupted then a tentative friendship was reached.
In our case the little bird scurried to safety and I ran inside to grab my camera and a stool so that I could wait patiently to snap some pictures. I figured that mama bird was not faraway so I chose a spot for my stool a respectful distance from the baby and waited quietly to snap some family photos.
When you are sitting still and waiting, time goes very slowly, but eventually mama returned and as you can see from the photo to the right, she first flew to the top of the fence to look down at her baby. I learned that getting a family shot was not going to be easy because the time the two spent together was brief. Initially I snapped a lot of fuzzy photos before I learned to wait, camera poised, ready to shoot.
Mother bird came and went several times as I watched and then she suddenly decided to relocate her baby. The two scurried behind some flowerpots and then mother flew up onto the fence, hopped down to the yard and then took flight. I thought she was gone but she came up behind me and gently nudged my back. I interpretted this as an acknowledgement of my presence and possibly a warning that she was watching me. I remained in my spot making minimal movement until I had taken a picture of mother and baby together.
Even though we live in suburbia it is still possible to have encounters with wildlife. My husband and I purposely keep our backyard somewhat natural and have been visited on many occasions by nesting birds as well as birds who are just passing through. Each spring we are visited by courting Mourning Doves who literally spend hours just sitting on our fence. Sometimes at night in the summer a racoon shows up to dig for bugs in the yard. Our main rule is, never feed the wildlife, we don’t want them to become dependent on us nor do we want to create an environment that is unsafe for us or any of our visitors.
The Library offers books on gardening to attact wildlife and the Children’s Department has a book on designing a butterfly garden (the information will be useful whether or not you’re a kid.) Ask a librarian for assistance in locating these or any other books on gardening, birds, wildlife or whatever strikes your fancy!