As I stepped onto the grounds at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont my ears were immediately greeted by the cheerful chirps of various bird species.
The people who attended the bird walk Sunday were split into two separate tour groups as pairs of birds flew overhead chasing after one another and making loud yet sweet noises.
This behavior from the birds could only be from a result of one reason: mating season. With the recent advent of spring comes the welcoming of new plant life as well as animal life.
The bird walk began and each person looked through their binoculars, trying to spot and identify birds as the group ventured out into the gardens in hopes of locating the native birds that call this garden home.
“If you stay in one place, sometimes they will just come to you,” group tour guide Neil Gilbert said.
“Certain birds will favor certain trees,” participant Edmund Mezza said. “Migrating birds tend to like eucalyptus trees while birds like the gold finch tend to favor tall pine trees.”
One of the highlights of the walk was getting a close look at the red shouldered hawk.
While perched on top of a tree, it called out and turned around in a circle in a manner that seemed to show off its beautiful red color and spotted wings.
The scrub jay was definitely a group favorite due to its vibrant blue color.
Towards the middle of the walk a barn owl was just visible as it hid deep inside a tree.
Guests learned that owls are unable to digest the teeth, hair and bones of their prey so they essentially regurgitate it into what is known as an owl pellet.
Aside from these birds we also saw many spotted-towhee, white crown sparrows and Allen and Anna humming birds. This experience allowed each individual on the tour to relax and simply enjoy the beauty of nature.
“Every garden experience is different and people go for different reasons, but right now the garden is beautiful,” said Director of Visitor Services Eric Garton.
Alexandria Orozco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.