7 Minute Bird Blog

Why the peculiar name?   We chose this name for our blog because seven minutes is the average time one must remain almost motionless before the birds in the area decide the birder is part of the scenery and return to their normal activity.  Seven minutes is also the average time a visitor will spend exploring this blog before he hits the delete button and surfs on. Capisce?
Turtle Pond
(click on any picture to see an enlargement & more info.)
CSwan Wake

By Phil Cowan

A magnificent male Tundra Swan has resided  at California City’s Central Park for several years. Local birders have named him Sir Winston Churchill because of his regal bearing.  None could doubt Sir Winston’s sovereignty amongst a gaggle of underling domestic geese.  He seemed to soar in splendor in contrast to the squawking ganders. Nevertheless, the courageous cob languished in loneliness longing for the pen of his dreams. Envision Sir Winston’s bliss when one day  a fantastic femme fatale arrived at Central Park.                                       Continue Reading
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Click here to add text               A Spring nesting colony of  Yellow Headed Blackbirds.

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Birding in California's Antelope Valley in Eastern Kern County

California City is a town of 14,000+  located in the Antelope Valley of Eastern Kern County  in the high western Mojave Desert of California. The City's arboreal Central Park has two ponds, one large the other small, which provide an enticing oasis for spring and fall avian migrants and a pleasant nesting habitat for a variety of perching and water birds. The Central Park is listed as a birding hotspot on the ebird website. The picture at left depicts a male bird of a 500+ member breeding colony of Yellow-headed Blackbirds which returns each spring to nest among the verdant cattail reeds surrounding the ponds. Adjacent to the Central Park is the Tierra del Sol Golf Course which contains another five ponds that are also very attractive to birds. California City is well known to avian enthusiasts in Southern California, particularly from the Greater Los Angeles suburban area. 
A dozen miles northeast of California City is Galileo Hill, home of the Silver Saddle Ranch and Club. These arboreal acres and ponds provide another irresistable respite for migrants and home for many avian denizens. The extreme northern end of the Antelope Valley contains Koehn Lake(dry in summer)  which attracts a plethora of wading migrants in the spring and fall. 

Finally, located in the Sierra Nevada foothills at the northwest border of the Antelope Valley is the Butterbredt Spring Wildlife Sanctuary where massive cottonwoods, fed by shallow groundwater, attract "rivers" of avian migrants in the spring and fall.

The mission of the Seven Minute Bird Blog is to promote the northern Antelope Fremont Valleys as an avian haven for  all levels of birders.

Birdtographer, Phil Cowan
(Click his picture to view biosketch.)
        Yellow-headed                    Cooper's Hawk                                  Blackbird  
             Northern Shoveler
The Wayne Gretzky Birding Technique

By Phil Cowan, Birdtographer

“I skate to where I think the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” 
  -- Wayne Gretzky

"The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky,may not even be a birder; however, his perceptive principle, obviously relative to ice hockey, may be similarly applied to the avocation of birding. Birdwatchers who choose to stroll rather that sit quite often view perches where birds have recently been, while stationery Gretzky birders try to anticipate where birds will be.  

​  Read more. . . . 

Oh Lonesome Tree!
By Phil Cowan
At the summer solstice as the sun begins to retrace its southward trek, spring fades into history and with it the vanishing tail feathers of the final few avian migrants winging northward.  Here we remain in the high Mojave Desert craning our necks skyward searching the desolate branches for one straggling Empidonox.  Alas, the stark boughs gently gesticulate forlornly, futilely beckoning the birds to return.  Independence Day approaches and a few hatchlings chirp incessantly demanding succor of their harried parents which long to be winging to verdant northern climes. The summer lull is upon the stranded birders in California’s arid Antelope Valley. 
Paraphrasing Don Gibson and June Carter's plaintive lament,   Oh, lonesome tree! 
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A Fallen Finch

By Phil Cowan

Always an avian aficionado, I have suspended a bird feeder from a sagging bough of the towering cedar adjacent to my back porch. Following a hard day of masonry labor, I hosed out my wheelbarrow and left it standing, handles up, in the unfortunate proximity of the new bird feeder. The next morning , with coffee in hand, I sat on the stoop watching a pair of house finches dining to my pleasure upon the seeds I had provided, the blushing red male clearly deferring to his beloved mate.
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Coopers's Hawk
This beautiful raptor is a denizen of California City Central Bird Park.

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