Coyotes Find Trouble

As you may know, coyotes seem to get into trouble when encountering urban spaces. All to often they are to blame for missing pets and raided trash cans with little proof they are the culprits. Many don't understand the role they play in insuring your garden's natural balance.

GNG sees the importance of all native species and has been monitoring our local coyote pack for over the past year and a half. It has consistently been three members - the first video shows all of the pack members together. The second video below shows a lone coyote walking the concrete brim with an obvious broken leg. Such a clip is very sobering to see after reviewing hundreds of videos displaying healthy fauna running around our property. Though it is tough to say how he hurt himself we have a hunch a car might be involved. We are also trying to determine if it is one of our three or perhaps a newcomer.

Currently, we reaching out to see if anyone is willing to help this poor animal and will continue to monitor for his return. We will be sure to keep everyone updated.

Female Flicker!

GNG was very excited to catch a glimpse of a male Northern Flicker, but we didn't expect to catch the female in the same spot foraging for ants. If you look closely you can see the length of her tongue as it darts between blades of grass looking for ants. We will keep close eye on this potential pair for signs of a new family in this spring.. 

Coyote Pair

Catching coyotes during the day is always a treat for their coats are so detailed, and rarely enjoyed. These two are lurking around a woodrat nest, waiting for a rabbit or anything else hiding within the tangled mass of sticks and grass to run out. (Please disregard the date in the video.)

Northern Flicker, The Ant Eater

GNG was lucky enough to catch a rare glimpse of a Northern Flicker hunting for insects on the ground. Flickers eat vegetation (seeds and berries), but insects make up 40 - 50% of their diet. They also practice a behavior called "anting" where they rub ants on their feathers to release naturally occurring acidic chemicals. The theory being these applied chemicals stave off mites, parasites and fungi while supplementing the birds natural preening oil.

Northern Flickers are weary of people and tend to stay hidden. Listening for their calls and getting up early will improve your chances of seeing a Flicker in your yard.

Great Horned Owl Perch Walk - Gottlieb Native Garden

We noticed one day that a low hanging laurel sumac was playing host to a day roosting great horned owl. I noticed pellets under an adjacent sumac, but their number and quality lead me to believe the spot was a one-time stop. We inspected the sumac in question and found lots of white wash, down feathers and numerous pellets. All of these signs point to a regularly used day roosting owl spot.

One would never suspect a 3 1/2 in diameter branch, only about 3 feet off the ground, would be home to such an impressive bird of prey. We setup our video trail camera in the sumac making sure we gave the owl its room, but secure and close enough to capture his return. After a week of waiting we were pleased to find 100+ videos of the owl preening, sleeping and preening some more. Below are the first two videos of many more to come.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Wilson's Warbler Spotted

GNG cameras capture up to 400 images a week and during the fall months the bird diversity dwindles. So, it was very exciting to see a flash of golden plumage pop up on the screen while looking through recent cam photos. The Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) yellow color, along with the dark spot on its head make it easy to distinguish in photos. After researching we found out that Wilson's have a beautiful spring song...hopefully next year we will catch it!

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Fox Squirrel Surprise

Fox Squirrels (Sciurus niger) are a sore subject for GNG for they are not native and pushed out populations of native western gray squirrel. Yet, they have been living in California for over 100 years. History states the first population arrived in Los Angeles by way of Civil and Spanish war vets who kept them as pets. From there they escaped and started colonies. Today, they are most likely the squirrel you see in you backyard.

Did you think the one on the lower branch didn't see the other till it looked up?

Cooper's Hawk at Lower Tub

Cooper's Hawks are extremely fond of GNG and the variety of birds it attracts. Cooper's Hawks main diet almost exclusively consist of birds smaller than itself. This may frighten some native gardeners, but one must always rely on the balance already provided by nature. Cooper's in GNG often hunt jays and doves, two species that can become over populated and have an adverse impact on the environment if numbers go unchecked.

Often we come across the tall tell sign of a successful Cooper's hunt - scattered feathers under high tree limb perches or even as low as fence posts. Cooper's have adapted well to urban settings and one of the most common birds of prey seen in Southern California.

Black-throated Gray Warbler Spotted

It amazes us how GNG is still attracting new species of birds we have never caught before on our cameras. At a quick glance one could over look this black-throated gray warbler (Dendroica nigrescens) as a sparrow or perhaps a Bewick's wren. In chatting with other Audubon members it seems these little birds are common amongst many Southern California native gardens. 

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler