Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20, 2014 at the Bird Feeder

     There are now two families of house sparrows in residence-- one family in a small pine tree and the other near the top of a large oak. I've seen the chippy [chipping sparrow] over the past two weeks and yes, we still have a male red-wing blackbird who thinks he is a grackle. Hopefully he will figure it out before too long. 

     The mourning doves are nesting, goldfinches still all over the backyard tree, and the usual chickadees/ nuthatches/ juncos remain in force. We had two surprise visitors this afternoon. 

     I heard the "me-ow" before I saw him; a male [I think a male although there is no way of telling without instruments of torture] gray catbird. He was finely mustached and flitting about the tree cautiously. Ignoring the bird feeders as befitting his species, he issued several plaintive cries and then landed on the hook supporting one of the hummingbird feeders. He drank sugar-water from the reservoir [astonishing!] but rejected all of the other water available for drinking in the yard. He flew back into the leaves when his mate flew in. I could see his rusty coloration under his tail feathers. His mate did not come out of the thicket of leaves. The male attempted to drink from another hummingbird feeder and then both flew off. The couple came back twice after that and inspected various branches of the tree.

     The tree is some sort of sour cherry-- not the edible to humans kind-- which the birds seem to fancy. We also have a garlic patch and several other planted areas. One end holds the wildflowers and red bee balm and a bush whose name I've forgotten for the moment. The other end features lilacs, a few random tulips, ferns, several kinds of berries, and a spice bush. The gray cat birds must have found the plantings to be satisfactory else they never would have ventured into the tree. 

     The bees are out full force. My hovers are indeed back and so are the wasps and yellow jackets and a few honey bees. We don't subscribe to any sort of treatment for the grass. It grows as it will and when we mow it all down, it looks fairly green. The "grass" no longer qualifies as a common lawn. We have wild violets and other things intermingled with it. We don't use chemicals or even fertilizer. The grass and plantings all grow or not and that is the way of it. The humans have allergies and the dog is old and I like my grass to be varied and free from the foul crap that our neighbors pay to have sprayed on their more typical lawns. 

     In the neighborhood, folks tend to leave their little yellow placards up for several twenty-four hours in hopes I suspect of keeping dogs from pooping on their lawns. The chemical stuff smells nasty. I feel like gagging when I come across fresh applications on our walks. The crap in the chemical spray used binds with the proteins that are naturally present in the pads of dogs. Yes, a dog can die from that.

     Living in the modern world, all of us are to some degree or another "at war" with nature. Nature does not give a rat's ass for the likes of us. The wild things which to overgrow the artificial boundaries that we have set and reclaim what was theirs long before we ever got here. While walking tonight along the edge of a field that has an unruly collection of trees and bushes and scrub, I noted two eyes reflecting the light from my LED-hat back to me. The animal was crouched at the bottom of a tree. I figured it for a mouse or rodent of some sort [or a small kitten???]. I also figured that the animal did not want to meet the dog and I. So we kept going.

sapphoq n friends.