Parrots in Beverly Hills?

Yellow-chevroned Parakeets are native to the tropical forests of South America, not neighborhoods in Southern California! But over time caged birds have been released or escaped forming self-sustaining populations in the Los Angeles basin.  Like many other feral parrot species thriving in L.A., Yellow-chevroned Parakeets feed mostly on exotic seeds, fruits, flower blossoms and nectar from non-native plants and trees. 

Yes, the GNG still has some non-native plants on the property. But because these Australian Silk Oaks - Grevillea robusta offer so much to wildlife (we have seen over 40 species of birds use them in one way or another) it’s hard to consider the removal of these life-giving trees. 

Yellow-chevroned Parakeet - Brotogeris chiriri

Very, Very Cute, but…

California Ground Squirrels are definitely adorable, especially during their youth.   Ground squirrels can also be incredibly destructive, destabilizing hillsides with their extensive underground condominiums.  Because of this destructive behavior, homeowners are sometimes forced to keep this animal under control.  If extreme measures are necessary, we ask that it is never done with poison. There are few things worse than attempting to control rodents with rodenticides.  The end result will be the poisoning of the very predators that hunt these rodents, leading to a complete collapse of the Balance of Nature.

California Ground Squirrels  - Otospermophilus beecheyi

Slow Days at the Hummingbird Feeders

We have to wonder why hummingbirds are not drinking at feeders with their usual ferocity.  Once reason might be that they are taking advantage of the recent wildflower bonanza and getting the majority of their nectar from another source.  Hopefully this is true and they’ll be back at the GNG feeders by summer!

Below, an Allen’s Hummingbird feeds from Dudleya pulverulenta flowers.

Yummy Worms

At this time of year, the GNG is full of native insects and birds really take advantage of them.  Nesting season for many species coincide with this bounty, assuring plenty of food for their young.  In addition to those insects, mealworms are offered as a healthy, tasty treat.  Below, a Song Sparrow has just fished-out a mealworm that was in a dish of bran.  With so many mouths to feed, we can only assume that parent birds appreciate the handout!

Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia

Acorn Woodpecker in the Silk Oaks

It’s always fun getting a new yard bird and today’s was good one – the clown of the woodpecker family, an Acorn Woodpecker.  This woodpecker can be found throughout California, but is a little out of place in the GNG.  Being Oak Woodland dependent and social by nature (you normally find this species living in tight-knit groups), having a single male in the garden was definitely a treat.  It seemed to be enjoying nectar provided by the silk oak flowers before being chased off by jealous ravens.

Acorn Woodpecker and Common Raven 

A Lovely Combination of Color

Beautiful moments can be found at anytime in your garden.  While walking the GNG in the early evening recently, we came across this Pyrausta moth alight on a Ceanothus flower.  Pyrausta moths are quite small, but this one stood-out because of its beautiful lavender pink color against the purple blossoms.

Inornate Pyrausta Moth - Pyrausta inornatalis

Busy House Wrens

This cement birdhouse has been hanging in the GNG for almost 10 years with no takers.  Well, this year the fortress has tenants.  A pair of House Wrens is now busy at work filling the house with sticks to cradle their future family.  It just goes to show that when it comes to experiencing wildlife, sometimes practicing patience is key.

Firefly in the Gottlieb Native Garden

This male Pterotus obscuripennis, a firefly (fireflies are actually beetles) found in California, does not emit light flashes like its eastern cousin - it is the female of this species who has light organs that can emit a luminescent glow. But she never goes through metamorphosis and retains a larval appearance all the way into adulthood.  Californians always have to do things their own way…

Firefly - Pterotus obscuripennis ♂

FOS Hooded Oriole!

This beautiful oriole blessed the GNG today and became the 3rd “First of the Season”  Hooded Oriole to be officially accecpted in the Los Angeles area.  He apparently was thinking about the Gottlieb Garden of Plenty over the winter and couldn’t wait to return!

Male Hooded Oriole