Spring has sprung! 3-21-24

March 21, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Spring Apparent!

The first full day of spring was balmy at 58 degrees and activity was noted in every direction.

 

Wood poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are opening now.

 

Wish I could share the yummy fragrance of the shrubby Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum). It wafts through the air and awakens the senses.  

 

The nodding blooms of Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginiaca) change from pink to blue.

 

4-2-23 Mining Bee (Andrena sp.) on Violet (Viola sororia)4-2-23 Mining Bee (Andrena sp.) on Violet (Viola sororia)

Wooly Blue Violets (Viola sororia) welcome tiny native mining bees to gather pollen. Violets support 25 different pollinators such as these!

 

3-12-24 Northern Cardinal fights its reflection3-12-24 Northern Cardinal fights its reflection

Northern Cardinals are nesting in their favorite spot in the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle vine (Lonicera sempervirens). The male insists on protecting its mate and nest by chasing off intruders, including its own reflection. The bird begins about 7 am and continues until after 7 pm. The bird will not be dissuaded and covers three floors and three sides of the house! (It may have earned a new nickname, Bam-bam!) It did this last year and lived to nest again.

 

3-12-24 Eastern Bluebird nest3-12-24 Eastern Bluebird nest 3-19-24 Eastern Bluebird nest3-19-24 Eastern Bluebird nest 3-19-24 Eastern Bluebird nest - no eggs yet!3-19-24 Eastern Bluebird nest - no eggs yet!

The Eastern Bluebirds have made great progress on their nest in a week. No eggs yet. 

 

3-20-24 Eastern Bluebird with feather for nest3-20-24 Eastern Bluebird with feather for nest 3-20-24 Eastern Bluebird with feather for nest3-20-24 Eastern Bluebird with feather for nest 3-20-24 Eastern Bluebird leaves nest3-20-24 Eastern Bluebird leaves nest

The female found this downy white feather, and chose it to embellish or 'feather' its nest. Nothing but the best!

 

3-21-24 Carolina Chickadee at nest box3-21-24 Carolina Chickadee at nest box

The Carolina Chickadees have been busy, too. A slow-motion video was the only way to capture what they're doing.

 

3-21-24 Carolina Chickadees nest building

3-2-24 Carolina Wren nest atop E. Phoebe nest from last year3-2-24 Carolina Wren nest atop E. Phoebe nest from last year 3-20-24 Eastern Phoebe nest3-20-24 Eastern Phoebe nest

The female Eastern Phoebe has returned and was seen carrying material to their nesting place. The pair had cleaned out the Carolina Wren nest and it is looking more like a real phoebe nest now. I'm not sure yet where the Carolina Wrens are nesting, but we see them every day and the male is singing as if on territory. I suspect they may be in one of the old oak snags. We'll be watching.

ALL of the new baby birds will soon be eating insects, especially caterpillars of many sizes, shapes and colors!

 

2-9-24 Eurasian Tree Sparrow and House Sparrow composite2-9-24 Eurasian Tree Sparrow and House Sparrow composite

We encourage our native birds to nest by putting up the nesting boxes. However, the House Sparrows and Eurasian Tree Sparrows are NOT native birds. They are introduced species that have naturalized and are seemingly everywhere. They use up resources for our native birds, so we will not support their nesting activity, and remove nests made by them. It's the only way to give our native birds a chance.

 

3=19-24 Eurasian Tree Sparrows - nest in box #23=19-24 Eurasian Tree Sparrows - nest in box #2 3=19-24 Eurasian Tree Sparrow nest in box #23=19-24 Eurasian Tree Sparrow nest in box #2

This was exactly the case in the second Eastern Bluebird box we put up. The Eurasian Tree Sparrows took it over, so we removed all the material and then took down the box for this year. 

PS  It would be rare to have two pairs of nesting bluebirds, the standard distance between boxes is 250-300 feet even up to 600 feet apart.

Everything we do in our yard is to help native birds and we do that by supporting native bees, butterflies, moths and other insects. That means leaving our leaves where many insects complete their life cycles. That means NOT using pesticides that will kill these insects. After all, the insects become essential food for our native birds. The results have been amazing!

Here are a few examples from my latest program.

 

Recently, Dan and I watched this program by our mentor, Dr. Doug Tallamy on the

Winter Learning Series from the Missouri River Bird Observatory. 

If you also want to help our native birds, this is the program to take in!

Nature's Best Hope

 

(The link will open a new page for you.)

 

 

 


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