Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Sticks and Twigs

As if I could do as well as the birds. But a couple of years ago, while sitting in the filtered shade of the oaks in Judith Larner's garden, I learned how to make a quail covey. This is a structure that anyone can build with a circle of fencing and any tall sticks and twigs that might be handy. These coveys serve as a place for the chicks and parents to duck into when taking cover from feral cats and dogs on the loose. And for the male to keep a lookout from its peak.

Last fall I finally got around to building one of my own. Not for my land, but for the Life as Art Foundation in Sonoma. When I built this it was pouring and my boots were trudging pounds of California clay, so it is a bit haphazard, built with anything I could find on the ground as well as as much Himalayan blackberry that I could harvest. But when I returned the next weekend there were sparrows singing in it and foraging for seeds so at least it was making someone happy. I like to think that some quail have taken refuge from the resident dogs as well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Untidy Wild

Before the nests and in between, I have been drawn to the wildness at the edge of forests; to their thickets and dense understory. This was taken along the Little North Fork of the Gualala River. It could be perfect forage cover for quail, thrushes, bushtits, and other secretive birds, as well as packrats and other small mammals. The blue stem is native blackberry. I will have to go back to see what is keeping it company now in the spring.