We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
As we head into Spring with snow still on the ground and snow predicted for tomorrow, here's what I'm seeing here in Yankeeland:
Carolina Wren Cardinal Tufted Titmouse Chicadees Mourning Dove Red Wing Blackbird Cowbirds Purple Grackle Song Sparrow Downy Woodpecker White Throated Sparrow still some Juncos Robins in flocks, mostly males lots of Golden Crowned Kinglets Blue Jay Sharp Shinned Hawks Mockingbird House Finches Goldfinch White-Breasted Nuthatch Canada Geese on the move, overhead
As my brother and I were beginning to clean out the parents' garage, at my Dad's request, yesterday, we found 8 wren and Bluebird houses. I'll put a few up here at the HQ, and the rest at the farm on my next trip up. We have a large Bluebird contingent up there but they have to compete with the Tree Swallows for the nest boxes. Birds compete for housing, just like people.
Here in S. Illinois I am watching a beautiful snowfall with three inches already on the deck railing. We put out some seed and suet and have been enjoying the cardinal couples coming to call. The chickadees delight us. Lovely day.
Conventional wisdom says you should put up your bluebird boxes in pairs. The 2 boxes in each pair should be only 10-15 feet apart, while pairs should be set 50-75 feet apart. The reasoning behind this is that tree swallows will move into one box of each pair, then chase off any other tree swallow that attempts to nest within about 20-30 feet. The second box of the pair is within that radius, so it will be left swallow-less and some other species of bird, like bluebirds, can move in.
I hear that some recent studies have contested the above conventional wisdom, but it certainly seems to work on the bluebird boxes at the local nature center. They have about 110 boxes set up in pairs. Every year, one box of every pair has tree swallows, and the other doesn't. The bluebirds, chickadees, house wrens, and other birds that occasionally use that size nestbox never lack for available boxes.
Nuthatches (ha-ha. ha-ha. ha-ha. ha-ha.)
Downy or Hairy Woodpeckers, I can never tell them apart.
Grackles, just a couple Soon there will be flocks.
Sparrows. The brown and white kind. :)
Chickadees, I think. Could only see their outlines.
Saw what I think were some kind of Warbler, not sure what exactly, and they didn't speak up.
There's an Elm out back with a couple of long dead branches, one about half the diameter of the other. The other morning there was a Red-Bellied Woodpecker on the big branch and a Downy (I think) on the little one. Both of them hammering away. The limbs must be hollow, because they were making enough noise to get me out of bed to look. The drum tones they were getting were about a Fifth apart.
Today I'm cleaning my suet cages to stuff them with lint from the dryer, tufts of cotton and some moss that I propagate for topping off soil in planters. Lots of birds this spring. I do love the transition in seasons.
Cute little birdie!! Very charming to read about New England springtime. Here in Pacific Palisades (where the mountains meet the ocean is the town's tagline), two miles north of Santa Monica, everything is in full bloom after a nice damp winter. My neighbor's peach tree already bearing little peaches, his roses and wisteria are busting forth. Bougainvillea everywhere! A visit to family in Chatsworth provided weather in the mid eighties, jasmine and citrus flowers blending their fragrance in the breeze. I think it is going to be an astonishingly beautiful springtime.