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The Baby Doves in my shade garden

This evening we were sitting on our back terrace, all our pets were out back with us and we were making a fair amount of usual family noise when I spotted out of the corner of my eye what seemed like two very small birds just perched on the Philodendron … just hanging out, seemingly undisturbed by my dogs and cat who were all being quite vocal. On the off-chance that the birds might still be there when I got back I went to fetch the camera. My daughter managed to take quite a few photos of them and as you can see, these are definitely babies.

Barbie tells me that they look as if they are now too big for the nest but still can’t fly. I have been aware of a dove living in the back garden but was not aware of a nest.

This is the sight that first caught my eye …
The sight that caught my eye

Using the zoom lens to get closer without frightening or disturbing them …
Getting in real close

Very obviously babies, they sat quietly, as if watching us.
Looking around

Time for us to leave them alone and keep our boisterous pets away from them …
Nitey-nite birdies

I sent Barbie the photos and she says they seem unstressed. They are not peeping or making any noise so they are probably not lost and Mommy is around. This spot is directly below the bird feeder and water bottle, so there is food for the Mom. The babies must have flown/hopped onto the big leaf stalk they are sitting on which is about 2 feet off the ground – so they are not completely helpless.

I’m guessing that the main threat to them would be my cat Hercules, whom I’ll try to keep him inside and very well fed for the next few days to give the birds a chance to get strong so they can fly to higher branches.

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Rooibeksysie in the Pepper Tree

Today I spotted this cute bird in the Pepper Tree and was lucky enough to be sitting with the camera when it briefly perched in the tree, surveyed the scene and decided it was not safe to spend too much time hanging out. It hopped to another branch where it was briefly joined by two others and then they all took off.

Common Waxbill

I assume that I only attract common garden birds to my garden. I’m right slap bang in the middle of Suburbia after all and I have not yet planted anything to specifically attract more exotic birds to my garden. So assuming this is a common bird, I tried to identify it using the Internet and have come to the conclusion that I need to buy a book! The Internet was not very useful this time, but I finally found what I was looking for.

This is a Common Waxbill, also called a Rooibeksysie (“rooibek” translated is red beak in Afrikaans) and they are about 11 – 13 cm in size. The bill, facial skin (eye-stripe) and underbelly is bright red. It is finely barred brown above and pinkish white below. Found near water, on the edge of cultivated fields in grassland and reeds. Common resident. So yes, it is common, but that doesn’t make it any less cute!

[one_half]Common Waxbill surveying the sceneCommon Waxbill surveying the scene[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And then (briefly) there were threeAnd then there were three[/one_half_last]

My garden is always teeming with birds – when we are inside. The minute I step outside they retreat to the highest branches because of my entourage! If I was a bird, I’d steer clear of my entourage too. They are noisy and … well Dexter frightens grown men, so its no surprise the birds are wary. And Sherrie – she yaps a lot so that’s got to be off-putting for the birds too. To do a “Birding shoot” I either have to lock both dogs indoors (which I hate doing) or wait for them to go on play-dates. I’ll have to organise a few more because I do love watching the birds in my garden.

Happy Gardening

A few notes I found on the Common Waxbill (More at
The Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild), also known as the St Helena Waxbill, is a small passerine bird belonging to the estrildid finch family. It is native to sub-Saharan Africa but has been introduced to many other regions of the world and now has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 10,000,000 km².

It is a small bird, 11 to 13 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 12 to 14 centimetres and a weight of 7 to 10 grams. It has a slender body with short rounded wings and a long graduated tail. The bright red bill of the adult is the colour of sealing wax giving the bird its name. The plumage is mostly grey-brown, finely barred with dark brown. There is a red stripe through the eye and the cheeks and throat are whitish. There is often a pinkish flush to the underparts and a reddish stripe along the centre of the belly depending on the subspecies. The rump is brown and the tail and vent are dark. Females are similar to the males but are paler with less red on the belly. Juveniles are duller with little or no red on the belly, fainter dark barring and a black bill.

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

First visitors to the new Bird Feeder

I hung the new bird feeder on Saturday after following the instructions that came with it and on Sunday I saw my first bird – although fleeting. I peeped through the window wondering whether any birds had been and there was one. He darted off very quickly though. Since then, I’ve looked a few times and believe it or not, every time I’ve seen a little visitor! What Joy!

Bird visitors

This afternoon I sat for a few moments (camera in hand) hopeful that I might get a photo and three arrived at once, a beautiful Sunbird that was chased away by this Witoogie. Witoogie then spent a few minutes sitting, drinking, looking around, drinking again and then off he went. (Click the photos to see the large versions).

Todays Visitor

[one_half]Witoogie arrivesArrival[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Witoogie drinksWitoogie drinks[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Witoogie looks straight at meWitoogie looks straight at me[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And looking for his buddiesAnd looking for his buddies[/one_half_last]

How cute was that?

The bird feeder came with instructions to add red food colouring the first time as it attracts the birds to the new feeder. Once your feeding station “becomes known” by the birds, you stop using the food colouring.

The feeder comes with two different “nozzles”. The short one (which I have on mine now) is for short-beaked birds. The longer one is for sunbirds and long beaked birds. As I witnessed, some of the short-beaked birds are bullies and will dominate the feeder so the answer is to have two – one for the Sunbirds and one for the others.

Now that I know it works and that the birds will use it I will get another.

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Design Gardening Trees

For the Birds …

Barbie, this post is especially for you to show you two new additions to the Brazilian Pepper in the back garden. Remember you commented last week that you’d hang things from the tree? Well I took that to heart and then I found this cute bird nectar feeder at the nursery and decided my birdies that wake me at 5 am every morning might make a bit less noise if they had something to drink back there 🙂

For the birds

Then I also moved the green “bird house” to the back because they never use it in the front. I don’t know why they don’t – it is still full of all the bird seed I originally put in it. Possibly because Dexter is always in the front garden? Or maybe they just didn’t like its position? We’ll see if they use it now. It would be splendid if they do!

For the birds

Hope you approve 🙂
What else should I hang in the tree?

Monday morning update – Just spotted a bird drinking from the feeder! Yay!

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Trees

Birds a bathing

Every morning when I sit in my office, for about two hours I hear the non-stop chirping and tweeting of birds. They have three bird baths which are situated in the Water Feature (in the side garden) which they seem to like but I’ve noticed that they prefer the trees in the front garden (the Frangipani and Willow trees in particular). I recently added two free standing bird baths to the front garden for them but up until today had never seen them being used by the birds. Until today … and use them they did! What a lovely way to start my day – with a cup of coffee and camera in hand they allowed me to sit quietly whilst they went about their morning ritual at the bath.

A few days ago I put a cutting of a plant in the bath as I assumed they weren’t using it – well one of them decided it needed to be taken out – he picked it up and flew off with it, taking it into the Willow Tree!

Here are a few photographs …

Birds in the bath

Birds in the bath

Bird removes my cutting and takes it to the willow tree …


Conference in the Frangipani Tree …

In the Frangipani Tree

That’s All Folks! Happy gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Trees

Look what I found whilst weeding!

I’m sure for seasoned gardeners this is no big deal, but I was excited (and a bit dismayed) to find this little birds nest lying in my garden today whilst I was pulling out weeds. I was excited because it’s the first time I’ve found one (and it provided a great photo-op for the new macro lens) and because it tells me that the birds like living in my trees. On inspection, I then found a few more bird nests in my actual trees – but the others are all a lot bigger than this one.

This sweet little nest is about 12cm in diameter at it largest width. Any ideas about  what type of bird this would belong to? Oh, and another question – what is the correct thing to do when finding a nest on the ground? Just leave it there? (that’s what I’ve done, for now).

I was a bit upset because I was worried about the “nest owner” missing her home, but perhaps they have built a new one? There were no eggs in it so I assume they no longer need it. On my shopping list – I’ve ordered a new bird bath from Peppino’s which will arrive next week tomorrow (Yay!). This will go out back where there is no water feature and I found the other bird nests. They need a bath and water so I need to supply … right?

[one_half]Birds NestBirds Nest[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Closer viewBirds Nest[/one_half_last]

Happy gardening