Sunday, May 16, 2010

Here Birdie Birdie Birdie

We've had an unusually large bird population at the feeders this spring. Not unusual birds, they are all common to this area in the summer.

Hours before the big rains, most all of our birds have been feeding on the sunflower seeds. This is rather surprising because they typically would rather eat insects and seeds from the yard in the spring.

I had once read if it's going to be a long and severe storm, birds would come to the feeders for their fill. If it was going to be a short-duration storm, they would wait it out. Apparently, the person who observed this behavior was spot on.

It's also been a hard spring on the baby birds. I've seen several, after storms, that were apparently blown or washed out of nests. And even though birds' feathers naturally shed water, they've looked pretty soaked to the skin after the rain finally stops.

When the wind gusts to 40 - 50 mph even our big old trees do a lot of whipping around. Birds who build in the top of trees must have a thrilling, or more likely scary, ride.

Birds at the feeders this month:
Blue Jays, Cardinals, Red Headed Woodpeckers, Gold Finches, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, wrens, House Finches, nuthatches, American Tree Sparrows, Dark-Eyed Juncos, White Crowned Sparrows, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, and I'm sure others I've not identified. The robins, doves and Brown Thrashers feed in the seed catcher or on the ground under the feeders if it's really going to be a nasty storm.

I've seen more blackbirds and starlings stay around the yard this year. Usually they move through and out in early Spring. Fortunately, they're pretty much staying in the fields with the Killdeers and hawks.

I've always kept seed in the feeders near my computer room window year round because I enjoy watching them but the amount they eat drops considerably in the summer. It started that drop until the heavy rain storms began.

Other nesting activity:
A Brown Thrasher couple has built a nest in the honeysuckle that twines over the end of my clothesline. When they started, it was a relatively quiet area but it's a mere five feet from the edge of the screened back porch and close to the area I've been landscaping. Brown Thrashers are pretty shy birds and this has been a hard adjustment for them.

The "little in size but big in personality" wrens are not shy and often nest near porches. They seem to have a particular fancy for porch wreaths, hanging baskets, and other man-made decorations. Most often it works for me as I enjoy watching their parental skills and hearing their large vocabulary of songs.

Other activity:
The bats came out of hibernation only to be greeted by cool nights and storms.

I've already seen several types of moths and butterflies in the gardens. Last night we had a "June Bug" on our screen. Not only are the flowers blooming about fifteen days early but apparently all nature is on warp speed this spring.

Friends shared the prediction that once we get past this wet spring, drought will set in for the rest of the summer. If that happens, those of us who get everything planted or transplanted during the wet spell will be glad they at least are getting an easy good start. New perennials will still need regular deep watering the first year, especially trees and bushes. Potted and hanging planters may need daily watering if rain becomes scarce.

But today, the yard is lush with greenery and things are growing bigger than ever before. Even the most skimpy transplant appears to be taking hold. Today, all things look bright. Isn't it great to have the optimism of a gardener??

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