by Gemma Hazen

Reach me


We leave seed out for the neighborhood birds. I don’t know if that’s legal or not, and I’m pretty sure the neighbors get slightly annoyed, but it’s led to a lot of friendly bird-folk visits. And that’s WORTH IT in my books.

This is a journal.


Zebby is a Zebra dove, Geopelia striata. They are a very common species here in Hawai’i, originally native to Southeast Asia. Zebby is the generic name I’ve given to the-most-friendly-Zebra-dove in the yard at the time. They usually stay on the sidewalk trees until I start the daily watering of the plants. Then they come around and land on the fences surrounding our yard and watch me until I set out some seed. Some will jump into the yard no matter what I’m doing and some wait until I’m under the patio roof to come down and eat. Zebby is the type to be found searching in the patio for treats when I’m not there. Zebby flies into the yard as soon as the seed goes down, and will stay in the yard eating, even as my daughter swings. Zebby doesn’t get bothered by the cats when they are in the yard… UNLESS they start to stalk. Zebby will smartly leave if one of the cats sets their eyes on her. Zebby is the name of my favorite Zebra doves that have learned over the years that our yard is a friendly place.

The Zebra Doves are usually joined by Spotted Doves, Spilopelia chinensis. Well, it’s always been only one or possibly two Spotted Doves. And at least a dozen Zebras. When a Spotted Dove learns to trust the yard, it’s given the title of BIRD BIRD. BIRD BIRD has been known to sit on the Orchid Trellis to let me know it is hungry. We once had a BIRD BIRD mysteriously die in our yard, and we were really sad to think that it would no longer visit us as we tend to the plants. However, another Spotted Dove eventually (just a couple of weeks really) became BIRD BIRD and visits us each day at feeding time.

Visitors to the yard also include Red-crested cardinals (Paroaria coronata), Red-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus cafer), Saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola), Mejiro (Zosterops japonicus), Myna birds (Acridotheres tristis), and sometimes even a Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri). But none of these have been so friendly as to earn a special title.

Zebbs however…. little Zebby just leveled up.

Zebby has earned the new title of BIRDO: STRONG SMART BIRD MOM .

Zebby in her “nest”.

The other morning, I was suprised to see a little Zebby sitting in my hanging orchid pot. Well, sitting and poking around in it. Later that afternoon she was gone. I was watering the plants and the seed was down and all the little Zebra were pecking around. I reached up into the orchid pot to confirm my suspicions …

AND I FELT TWO PERFECT, SMOOTH, LITTLE EGGS! Zebby has since been on her nest every day and night unless it’s feeding time. She’s such a sweet little bird mom. My daughter named her STRONG SMART BIRD MOM, because she was smart enough to pick a hanging pot under a patio roof of a friendly family. She said Zebby was strong too, because she didn’t fly away out of fear when my daughter used her swing. That evening, it RAINED SO HARD. And Zebby just sat on her eggs, safe and sheltered under the patio roof.

According to the net, it looks like we have a couple of weeks of incubation. I really hope Zebby can continue to be a good bird mom, but I already reminded my daughter of Catterbuddy, our Swallowtail who never got to spread her wings and fly. Because you know, that ‘s how life goes sometimes.

My daughter just walked up to me and asked, “Mom, how do birds get water?” This was her nice way of reminding me that the bird-bath was dry and it was time to go out and tend to all of the wonderful life we have outside in our yard now.

I’ll post about Zebby, I mean, BIRDO! again soon.

%d bloggers like this: