Babes of all shapes and sizes are seen at this point in the year. The Northern Cardinal pair have nested again in the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) on the arbor by the pond. Their first brood is out and about. It is always somewhat gratifying as I watch them lead the young to the Bubbler and leave them to it. To me, that signals the Bubbler to be a safe place for the fledglings to explore on their own while the adults are off finding food.
The female Northern Cardinal is seen in this clip carrying more material to rebuild the nest. Look closely on the left, there's a Ruby-throated Hummingbird nectaring at the flowers of this native plant. Coral Trumped Honeysuckle is also a host plant for the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.
Two Tufted Titmouse siblings were investigating the Bubbler and surrounding trees one day while I was planting pots on the deck.
The Eastern Phoebes are nesting nearby, possibly under the eave of a neighbor's porch. But the pair have been coming in and collecting material to reinforce their nest. It was a surprise to me to see one pulling string algae off the Bubbler rock. That's the first time I've witnessed this behavior and the algae has practically disappeared. Moss is commonly used and the rocks in the basin are covered with it. The basin has become a very convenient source for them.
There are other critters as well, baby squirrels, chipmunks and deer. We had lived here for 15 years before I ever saw a deer. It became the joke of the neighborhood. "She can see the tiniest bird and not see a deer?!!!" It was true. Boy, has that ever changed. Deer are multiplying rapidly around us and it amazes me with our proximity to the busiest 4-lane road and interstate in the county. Deer find it comfortable in the suburban areas partly because of all the invasive bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) in yards. Deer move easily through it, are well-camouflaged and will bed down under it. That means that the ticks that feed on the deer increase as well, bringing the higher possibility of disease to us. That reality is not a comforting thought. Deer also jump into the paths of cars, I know of at least four incidents. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.
We have removed all of the invasive bush honeysuckle in our yard, and there was 8,000 square feet of it to tackle. It remains throughout the neighborhood, though. Deer have learned where the dogs live and avoid those yards. They come to our yard when other yards are being mowed. Over the last few years, does have been bringing their young fawns here, to feed, drink and rest. One has to admit, the fawns are pretty cute; we are programmed to appreciate "cute".
This doe was feeding on violets, jewelweed and sweet coneflower in the garden one afternoon. The doe will leave the fawn in cover to rest while it feeds.
Now, we all have our limits! This morning, I had come in for another cup of coffee to take to the gazebo when I looked up to see a doe eating a lovely Fuchsia "Gartenmeister" I had just planted in a pot on the deck. "NO!" I clapped my hands and the doe looked at me first to see if I was serious, then bounded off a ways. Eating jewelweed is one thing but I draw the line at anything on my deck or porch. I chose the Fuchsia so my blue-eyed boys could watch for the hummingbirds that come to it. Good grief!
And so it goes...the daily challenges of trying to live in peaceful coexistence.