In the Before Time we visited Zanjero Park every year to see the burrowing owls. As a wildlife viewing opportunity it was a bit artificial: The owls had been transplanted to this location by humans (from their own chosen location, now overcome by development by humans) into burrows created by humans. You may note the common factor.
Anyway, the park was adjacent to a big freeway for easy access by the aforementioned humans and to a farmer’s field for easy access to food by the also-mentioned owls, who seemed to ignore/tolerate the freeway in return for being able to hunt for small iggly-wigglies in the irrigated field. Over the years we reliably saw at least one owl on every visit.
Not this guy, mind you. He/she was in another farmer’s field. And not no more, this field having also given way to development, but just to give you an idea of why we bothered. Cute, eh?
Anyway, we went to Zanjero Park again this year to, you know, see the owls. But not no more. Our visit produced not just no owl sightings, but no sight of on-site owl habitat. Zero, nada, zilch. The humans giveth and the humans taketh away, apparently. An online report said that the owls had been re-relocated to a new site, the location of which was being kept secret until the owls had settled in. So that was that.
No owls for you!
Discouraged, we came home and I filled the bird feeder which had been hanging empty. Within 10 minutes, we had a swarm of birds in the backyard. At the feeder. In the tree. On the fence. On the ground. Transiting between stations.
But we also had a whole flock of rosy-faced lovebirds, which are native to the dry woodlands of southwestern Africa. Just visiting, maybe? On student visas, perhaps? No, through casual escapes from captivity and the collapse of a local aviary in a storm, these unintentional-and-maybe-illegal immigrants have established a permanent local population.
And when the experts say local, they mean local. This is what I can see from the patio, and it’s a permanent sight just exactly as long as I keep the food coming.
The birdwatching gods may taketh away, but boy, they also giveth.