Time flies, it's already mid-July!
We've lost 15 minutes of daylight since the Summer Solstice.
Blue Jays have raised a healthy brood. Seven have been coming to the bubbler, chasing each other and the last fledging is still begging.
This is the first young male Northern Parula at the bubbler this year, with a meal! It is one of the smallest warblers, averaging 4.5", about the same as a chickadee and a bit larger than a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which maxes out at 3.5".
This Red-shouldered Hawk became bubbler bird species #125 on 6-30-22. It is larger than both American Crow and Barred Owl and can be 24" in length with a wingspan of 32"-50". So, it takes the prize for the largest bubbler bird yet. On 7-5-22, it came in shortly after the Northern Parula. The next photo is a composite of both birds to show their size difference.
From the smallest to the largest, the bubbler delivers!
It is always amazing to watch how quickly birds take to the bubbler. They feel comfortable here and know they can get water on these hot days. The adult has already shown its offspring that this is a safe refuge.
Yesterday morning, I saw the young bird catch a vole to eat on its own!
Eastern Phoebes have been actively catching insects, drinking at the dripper baths and splash-bathing in the stream bed. For the first time, the pair that nested under the gazebo raised two broods.
Eastern Bluebirds are back for water and food again. There were at least five young ones that came in with this male. It looks like the male is pretty fascinated with the dripping water.
Two ladies walking by waved the other day and told us how much they love our yard. "Don't you have deer? They're eating my hostas!" said one. "Oh, yes, we have deer!" I replied. Day and night, we have deer. No hostas, though they forage on violets, hydrangeas, and one doe even waded into the pond to eat water lilies. Yes, eating water lilies for two.
We fenced the pond, the water lilies recovered and we had our first bloom a few days ago. Let's face it, we all need a healthy environment, so we're doing our best to live with nature by providing native habitat and spreading the word about the benefits to all of us. Perhaps you just need a nudge to take the plunge? If you missed the Native Plant Tour in June, there's another way to see some inspiring native gardens!
Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) in the Woldum Garden, Certified "Gold" with Bring Conservation Home
Last Saturday, we visited our friends, Dennis and Katherine Woldum to see their lovely garden. They are participating in a relatively new program called St. Louis Open Yards, aka Native Gardens for Charity. Dennis and Katherine learned about the program from Mitch Leachman, co-founder of St. Louis Audubon Society's Bring Conservation Home Program. Mitch is now co-ordinating this new program with assistance from some great volunteers so more native gardens can be seen in their prime. Owners choose their favorite charity and in this case, Dennis and Katherine chose Caring Solutions which offers 24-hour care for adult developmentally disabled in the Metro area. Katherine said, “After the age of 18, there is diminished assistance from Missouri. As the parents or relatives age, it is important to have help in place. They do a wonderful job with the limited resources they have. We are proud to help them.”
If you live in the St. Louis Metro area, check out Open Yards! For a modest fee, you can visit gardens by registering in advance on the website calendar. The homeowners choose the days when their gardens will be open and you pick a time that's available. There are several search Categories, such as shade, rain, bird-focused or pollinator gardens to name a few. Different sized gardens are included. With this opportunity to walk through some beautiful, life-filled gardens, you’ll get lots of ideas on top-performing native plants and design tips as well. Many of these gardens are certified through the Bring Conservation Home Program. Read all about it, sign up for some visual treats and give back to our community at the same time! It's a win-win!