City Walks – Live Birds

More Birds, For Real This Time


They Can Hide From You But You Can’t Hide From Them

You can live in a public housing high rise in the Bronx or in a council building in London and still have plenty of birds around, and I’m fortunate to get even more around me in my city.

There’s a little stream that runs through the little park that is on the other side of our back alley, and it brings birds into the neighborhood that wouldn’t otherwise be seen.

For example, ducks will stop and rest when they can find a small pool of still water.

two ducks

We also occasionally get Great Blue Herons like this one, which decided to go after some of the minnows which live in the stream.

Great blue heron

And birds traveling through the park, like this vulture, will take detours to nearby homes.

Vulture on roof

Hawks will even come into our back yard. This one perched in our tree, but didn’t scare away the no-nonsense mockingbird which you can see in the top right corner.

Hawk in tree with mockingbird

This hawk, however, managed to catch another visitor to our backyard, an unfortunate mourning dove.

Hawk eating dove

But in a less grisly scene from nature, in our front yard in the Japanese maple in front of our house we put up a birdhouse made from a gourd.

Birdhouse made from gourd

In the early spring, a pair of chickadees started visiting!

Chickadee going in
Chickadee head sticking out

And the nest has gotten so big it’s overflowing the entrance hole, with soft material of some kind spilling out as the parents go in and out.

Chickadee nest


  1. …despite not being around in the year or so between its publication as a book & ken loach turning into a movie called kes I think the closest to falconry I’ve ever been was reading “a kestrel for a knave”

    …the full rhyme alone is probably more of that sort of lore than I can lay claim to knowing…but I’ve been to a few demonstrations of it here & there…so falconry has flown a hell of a lot closer than that to me…& I kind of envy the people who have these not-quite-pets the way I did the guys who’d lean on a gate whistling while a dog collected & shifted all or specific parts of a flock of sheep into this pen or that field

    …it looks effortless enough, which I think is the source of a lot of the envy…from the travails of the kid in that story that couldn’t be further from the truth though?

  2. I love my neighborhood, it is bird paradise.  I mentioned the other night the nonstop fights we are currently having between 2 hawks and the local crows.  I saw the hawks again yesterday and one was carrying sticks in its talons so I do believe they are building a nest close by.  The crows take turns dive bombing and trying to chase them out of each tree they land in.  I thought they were red tails originally but after getting a closer look, I think they are Cooper’s.  Each evening this week just before sunset, one of the hawks goes gliding by my upstairs window.  My wife is hoping they take care of our bunny problem but Cooper’s are much more likely going for small birds.

  3. A robin built its nest under our upper deck and it’s full of noisy babies. We had some woodpeckers in the tree next door but the jays chased them off.

    • I’m always struck in the fall after the leaves are gone by how many nests I see that I never knew existed. Lots are practically at eye level that I must have walked by dozens of times.

    • My wife was in the yard on Sunday pruning some bushes.  I always tell her to be careful this time of year.  She was about to prune the rosemary bush and found a robin’s nest with eggs.  They usually build under our deck but never seen this before!  She wants to cut down an old arborvitae in the backyard but I told her she can’t since it is a condo for a bunch of the birds in our yard.

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