Mary’s Santa Rosa Backyard

Since Leslie and her mother spent much of their time getting ready for the Saturday party, I spent even more time than usual in Mary’s backyard enjoying the sunshine I haven’t seen much of since last summer. I don’t sunbathe and I don’t even particularly like reading outdoors, so I took my camera with me and observed the flowers and the wildlife.

As I’ve noted since I took up birdwatching several years ago, there are four birds that seem to predominate in this Santa Rosa backyard: the Mockingbird, the Scrub Jay, the California Towhee, and the Mourning Dove (which I didn’t get a good picture of this time, though I still observed several).

The most interesting to me is the Mockingbird since we don’t have them in the Pacific Northwest and I can’t remember ever seeing one until I’d seen the one’s in Mary’s backyard a few years ago. Until then, I thought they were a Southern phenomena.


The more I observe them, the more aggressive they seem to me.

This time they seemed particularly upset by this young Scrub Jay, which even managed to annoy me, not to mention it’s parents, by hiding in a tree and chattering loudly until mom or dad brought it some food.

Immature Scrub Jay

It became perfectly clear that these species did not like sharing Mary’s backyard with each other. A little exploring on the internet confirmed the fact that both species are highly territorial and will often attack each other.

Strangely enough, this California Towhee, a constant presence in the yard, did not seem to bother either the Mockingbird or the Scrub Jay,

California Towhee

odd since our Spotted Towhee is quite aggressive, though admittedly with birds smaller than either the Mockingbird or the Jay.

The more I learn about birds, the more I need to know to understand their behavior.

7 thoughts on “Mary’s Santa Rosa Backyard”

  1. Interesting about being territorial Loren. I always thought our blackbirds sang with complete joie de vivre when their hens were sitting. One sings most of the day on a post by our window. I now find out that ornithologists think it is territorial. How do they know, I wonder?

    1. I know what you mean, pat. In that case, though, they were chattering at and dive bombing each other. It was pretty clear they didn’t like the other bird near the yard, or their nest/fledglings.

  2. The ones I find to be really territorial are the common house sparrows (or flying pigs as I call them as they are capable of emptying my feeder in a day – they waste a lot) When they are around the won’t let the chickadees or goldfinch near the feeder. Fortunately they leave the Lazuli Bunting alone for the most part as it is a ground feeder. I hope it’s still around after next Monday as my new Canon EOS Rebel (T2I 18-55IS )should be here – only an 18-55mm lens to start with but that’s good enough for the back yard – especially with 18mp resolution that will allow for better blow ups

    1. Luckily I don’t have House Sparrows in my yard. I’d love to get a picture of a Lazuli Bunting, but that’ll have to wait awhile I guess.

      I think you’ll enjoy your Canon Rebel. It’s the one I got started with, and it’s improved incredibly since I owned one.

      1. Oh ya I’m looking forward to it and as soon as I can afford it a telephoto lens will be added. Shame I can’t use my old no EF lenses (at least I don’t think I can) I have a decent Canon 105-210 for my old T90. I really hope my old Cannon flash will mount and work on this camera

  3. I agree that the family of mockingbirds in my backyard is especially aggressive this year. Yesterday, Papa dive bombed the nice man who cuts my lawn, and the poor guy had to duck to avoid being pecked!

    But last year a pair of jays pulled the baby mocking-burds out of the nest and left their bodies strewn on the lawn. It’s a shuddery world outside my back door.

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