For over 40 years, we’ve enjoyed the scenery just outside our backyard; a city golf course. Now, we’re not golfers, but this picturesque course gives us plenty of enjoyment as we watch the comings and goings of the wildlife there.
Tall Eucalyptus trees and Aleppo pine trees march down the center of the course. The trees, from time to time, provide a perch for red tail hawks, a hoot owl, many doves, and other smaller birds. Canada geese waddle down the course squawking all the way before they whoosh off into the air. After heavy rain, ducks sometimes swim about in the runoff in the puddles forming just beyond the fence. On the other side of the course, barely visible from my balcony, is a small lake, and about four miles southeast of here is a riparian bird reserve/water treatment plant. It is not uncommon to see water birds moving high overhead flying in the direction of the bird reserve. None of these have ever ventured into my garden.
I have a very wildlife-friendly garden; I have two small fountains, seed pods, trees, and brush for the finches, mockingbirds, doves, grackles, starlings, cactus wrens, and lots of hummingbirds. So when a great blue heron landed on the top of the block fence between my neighbors’ yard and ours, it was indeed a shock! Nothing like this has ever happened before! Great Blue Herons can stand five feet tall, with a wingspan of six feet. The bird is mainly legs and neck and on land stretch out into a slender regal pose.
We were sitting at our kitchen table and this giant bird flaps onto the fence! In just seconds he or she flew off. It was hard to believe our eyes. We didn’t expect it to hang around, and yet it did.
Two weeks ago, Rich had completed a new steel sculpture; it looks like a great heron or white egret, (he painted it white), and positioned it as though walking among the white flower bed heading directly toward the fountain. He made it out of an old steel scythe blade.
We are enjoying it. It stands three feet tall and is a reasonable likeness to the heron.
The live Heron returned, hopping again on the fence to look toward the fountain. Our neighbors snapped a photo of it.
Then the giant bird hopped down into our garden and onto the grass. It walked toward the steel bird and the fountain.
Our shadow against the window startled it, and it flew up onto our vine-covered arbor in the side yard. Standing there and looking longingly back toward the steel bird, it gave a full body shake and lifted off to fly on down the golf course.
Is it possible, could it be the steel bird attracted the Great Blue Heron to land in our garden? Could it see this replica from the sky? Hunters use duck decoys to attract a flock from overhead. Was romance in the air? Would a battle of wings and feet soon commence? What possible reason would a high-flying heron stop to visit in our garden? And oh, will we ever see it again?