Thursday, December 6, 2012

Black and White Birds at the Beach

Flutter of wings… birds hopping on the sand… waves breaking… clouds slowly forming and reshaping overhead… sunlight on shadows… wind rustling through the trees. Beach time is sacred time. This time of year, we are scanning the horizon for whale spouts. But there’s plenty of wildlife the rest of the year, like the mongooses that visit the beaches. (Did you know the plural of mongoose is not mongeese?) Also there are many birds who live at the beach: sparrows, mynah birds, and little red cardinals.  Occasionally, we’ll see a sandpiper or franklin.

Sparrow in mid flight at Makena. 
DH and I often bring bread or cooked rice to share with the birds at the beach. We don’t bring uncooked rice, since that can expand in their stomachs and kill them. The sparrows sometimes will even eat off our fingers in mid-air. It’s great fun to watch.

A bird watching friend said that birds have incredible vision and can actually recognize faces, especially of people who feed them. Must be true, because they always hang out at our beach blanket.

This blog post is my photo response to MauiShopGirl's challenge: Black and White. If you love birds and have enjoyed this post, you might also want to check out my flightier post on the White Bird Tree of Wailea

How to train wild birds at the beach to eat out of your hand:
1. Feed the birds every time you go to the beach - crackers, cooked rice, bread, popcorn, sunflower seeds...
2. Over time, the birds will get used to you and will stop by your blanket.
3. Put the food closer to you over time. 
4. Try holding the food in your hand and hold very still. 
5. Eventually some brave bird will eat it, and others will follow. 

What will beach birds eat?
Besides grains, seeds, and breads, Maui beach birds also enjoy apple cores and sometimes fruit. I hope to write more about this a bit later. Let me know if you'd like to see beach birds eating apples on sticks or see any bird videos. 

Bird day at the beach. Yes, the rice is cooked.


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