Yep…Thats right, psshing, not fishing! A lot of birders pssh to lure birds to them. First you pick out a place I call bird islands. Looking at the terrain, I like to choose a place that is “different” from what you see all around. Maybe a site with a few trees where there are none around elsewhere. Water is good. Thick brush where it may be thinner all around, a rock pile in the bare sand, you get the picture, bird islands.
Here’s Debbie with her T2i Cannon camera and 100X400 ultrasonic, image stabilized lens. She’s going off by herself somewhere to pssh. That Debbie, she’s a strong, independent person. We both have loud whistles carried around our necks in case one needs the other’s attention. I’ll show you what she captured with her camera later.
Meanwhile, I find a place where there are a few trees I can stand under to pssh from. I swear I can here a Cape Pygmy Owl answering back from far up a canyon. Way too far away. I hear wings flapping and the cry of an American Kestrel up above me near a rock wall. There he is: This bird came onto the psshing sounds I was making but now I’m busted. He’s sittin’ up there squawking and carrying on so I don’t have much of a chance to lure other birds in. Kestrels eat little birds.
I move on to a different island. I found a place where the brush is thick with some old, dead branches sticking up and out of them. Maybe the birds will come in and land for a shot or two. Pssh….pssh….pssh….I hear wings coming towards me. I admit the sound makes the hair stand up on my neck. More wing flutters, I’m being mobbed. Where there was not a bird to be seen now there’s—Northern Mockingbirds.
I hear a jay sternly telling me to go away and be quiet. A Western Scrub Jay. Handsome guy, I guess it’s a guy, 50/50% chance.
Now I’m starting to get the jitters! Birds are still coming in to my psshing!!! One wouldn’t think a little Verdin could scare a big ole’ guy like me but there they are, all around me scraping their beaks on the dry branches looking like they’re ready to bite someone. This one is giving me the evil eye. Just pssh one more time, I dare ya!
Then I hear more beaks scraping!!! Now it’s a little Gray Flycatcher joining in.
And now here comes a young White-crowned Sparrow. He’s really sharpening his beak and staring at me.
You don’t know what it’s like to be surrounded by chirping, beak slashing little birds. Down right spooky! Here come more…A Black-throated Sparrow.
Then along comes a real beauty to bring me back down to earth. Thank you, thank you. A Lazuli Bunting was tagging along at the end of the mob. Just gave me a peak of a photograph. Sometimes that’s all I need to top off a great day. To pssh- just put your lips together and say pssh or psssh or even psssssh. Whatever works for you.
I’ll have to finish this blog tomorrow. Got so shook up I need a nap. Happy Birding and Merry Christmas.