As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve started feeding birds in our yard many afternoons, sometimes leftover rice, sometimes stale bread, sometimes seed from a large Costco-size bag. It’s something I did as a kid, here in this same yard.
I was out there earlier this week and it suddenly hit me that the mix of birds is now very different than it was in the 1950s and 1960s.
Today, most of the birds that come down are doves, sort of evenly split between the small doves, which I’ve seen referred to as as zebra doves, and the larger, ring-neck or spotted doves. There is one pair of Brazilian cardinals, grey with the red heads. There’s a pair, possible two, of bulbuls. And there are a few mynahs, usually just three, sometimes four, that hang around in the background. We do have a single kolea, or golden plover, that visits our yard most days in the late afternoon, but doesn’t mix with the other birds.
That’s about it.
That is very different than when I was a kid.
In those days, there were many sparrows, and and lots of mynahs. Also small finches, or linnets, with colorful breast feathers. Both Brazilian and Kentucky cardinals (the ones with full red body feathers) were common. There were doves, but they were far from the dominant birds. It was also common for some mejiro, or white eyes, to flit through, checking out what was available to eat. Sometimes we would see a family of Java sparrows, with their different plumage and beaks. I think the Shama thrush, with its beautiful song, came later. We saw them relatively frequently in Kaaawa, but I don’t recall them in Kahala.
It appears that most of those are gone. I think I’ve only seen a sparrow once, and I haven’t seen a Kentucky cardinal since we moved in. Linnets? Occasionally, not often. Mynahs, which used to often congregate in groups on the lawn, are much less in evidence, although they are still raucously in evidence in the banyan trees near the Waialae Country Club.
In general, a far less diverse feathered population, at least in this part of the island.
Does the feeding location makes a difference. I’ve been putting food out in front of our house, on the street side. I wonder if moving into the back yard, more sheltered, would make a difference? Perhaps I’ll experiment.