BY ANNE KILGANNON
The South Capital Neighborhood is lucky to live amidst the sheltering boughs of a legacy bequeathed to us all from two neighborhood stalwarts, Mayor Amanda Smith and Margaret McKenny, a leading member of the Mayor’s Tree Committee of the 1950s-’60s. With the help of schoolchildren and local service clubs, and the support and leadership of the City, money was raised to plant dozens of trees along Capitol Way and restore a lane of shade and beauty that had been lost to street widening and utility services. Neighbors inspired by the leafy magnificence supported further programs to line our streets with more trees. And with the trees have come birds.
A casual walk around almost any block will involve sightings of busy robins, zooming hummingbirds, burbling mourning doves clinging to overhead wires, crows commanding treetops, and jays—both Stellar and scrub—challenging all-comers to nearby feeders. Smaller birds like chickadees, nuthatches, bushtits, juncos, and sparrows can be spotted hiding in shrubs and picnicking amongst the flowers that brighten our gardens. Towhees scratch for insects and wrens dart among rhododendron branches. Colorful Northern Flickers cling to telephone poles, loudly announcing their presence, but if you are lucky you might see the more elusive Red-breasted Sapsuckers drilling their rows of sap wells in tree trunks, or a Downy woodpecker enjoying a snack at a suet feeder. Glancing up, walkers catch breathtaking glimpses of the bald eagles that reign over the wooded banks of Capitol Lake. Deer and occasionally foxes and coyotes and other woodland creatures wander up from their hideaways by the lakeshore and belts of trees ranging down to the freeway. Wildlife abounds in our urban neighborhood!