Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The Birds of June
This has been an unusually wet June. I'm not complaining, everything is a lush dark green and seems to be thriving. Flowers are blooming like crazy, weeds are out of control. Birds seem so joyful all day long. Lawn mowing has been a challenge, mowing is being done about every 5 or 6 days depending on the rains. I love not having to water my few flower pots and sweetgrass.
Yesterday I mowed the yard. It was enjoyable, when I mowed the pathway to the tipi, I saw the barn swallows following me, they will catch the flying insects as I mow. Our horse pasture hasn't be mowed for hay yet this year, due to the rain. I know I should be thinking about the critters that count on this hay in the winter, my horses included. Instead I delight knowing the birds can finish nesting before the mowers take down their cover. I saw a meadowlark fly off when he thought I was too close. Meadowlarks will sit on a wooden fencepost and sing a lovely song. I am thrilled they are nesting in our meadow.
I mowed in front of the house, where our mailbox and a bluebird box stand. There were a pair of tree swallows in this bluebird box. I watched them build their nest and lay their eggs. I stopped bothering them when the female started incubating the eggs. Yesterday I noticed those baby tree swallows have fledged. There were five of them sitting on the wires over my head. The parents sat down on the same wires but further away. All seven, happily soaking up the sunshine. I wondered how the parents got them to all line up on that wire, all facing the same direction, very well behaved little birds I think.
I found another hummingbird nest in the front yard this week. Again it is about 12 feet above the ground on the branch of a tree. How you might ask am I able to find these nests? It takes a little time to just observe. I noticed a hummingbird hanging out, not at the feeder or feeding from flowers. As I watched this little bird, I see she is gathering spiderwebs to use as the glue to hold the nest of lichen together. I have noticed this behavior from hummers before, they would appear at windows or under chairs. Then I saw her fly to the tree branch. That is when upon close observation, I found a little nest that looks much like a joint or wart on the branch. This is the third little nest I have found. Amazing what you can do when you are quiet and alert to your surroundings. Timing of this event is just before the trumpet vine begins to bloom.
I have also been watching a pair of robins that have taken up residence on the lamp post at the front door. They have just successfully fledged their second nest of baby birds this season. I will keep count on how many times they fledge babies this year.
The abundance of birds in our yard is amazing. I am still feeding black oil sunflower seeds. Usually I stop feeding seeds when summer comes. There is usually enough for birds to live on without my help. I have found the birds continue to come and eat seeds. The woodpeckers, the nuthatches, the cardinals and of course the sparrows. It has been delightful to watch them, even in the summer.
This morning I was shocked to see from my window, a bird that had be hit by a car on the road in front of our house. I went out to discover it was a beautiful homing pigeon. The bird had leg bands and so I took the numbers down. By doing a little research on the computer I found the club that issued the leg band and called to report the loss of the bird. A very nice enthusiastic man called me back, he was able to identify the owner of the bird from his records and will advise her of the accident. He also shared lots of information about training the birds and talked about racing them. Amazing the things you can learn on a hot humid summer day in Ohio. This beautiful bird will be buried with a little ceremony in our horse pasture.