As the leaves begin to fall and cooler temperatures descend, I find myself feeling a bit of melancholy. I will miss my garden and all the benefits it provides. One of the true joys of the past few months was watching all the birds raise their families in and around our yard.
I have been gradually adding more to the yard to attract birds: a bird bath, bird house, bird feeder and a strawberry bed that produces little and has now been gifted to the robins. I was excited to discover that a pair of robins built a nest under our deck, mere feet from the strawberries! I like to think it is the same family of robins that built a nest by our front door 2 years ago. It may not be, but it’s nice to imagine and robins are known to come back to ‘good’ nesting sites.
We had a nest of tiny house wrens who would scold us continually if we were out in the vicinity of the bird house. We were unsuccessful capturing any photos as they completely disappear in our giant willow tree.
Mourning doves came by to perch, cuddle and coo at each other as they do. Of course we had to put up with crows, grackles and magpies: pretty enough but the squawking is entirely too much. We had a brief panic among parent birds when a small bird of prey, a merlin, landed on the tallest tree and scanned for a meal.
And most intriguing was the short visit from a family of northern flickers. The adults have a very unique call and the fledglings spent an afternoon tearing up anthills with their beaks. This was quite an amusing site as they squabbled with each other and flung dirt all around. If they had been in the garden instead of on a graveled area, maybe less adorable!
Encouraging all of these creatures and putting up with the bird poo paid off handsomely when we had a colony of fat flying ants hatch out and invade our yard. After an evening that put my anxiety into the stratosphere, I awoke the next day to find the yard full of sparrows, robins and grackles munching away. Ant invasion done!
I’m new to the bird watching and feeding hobby, but I believe it will be soon time to give them food for their migrations. For now the bounty of ripe apples and berries on trees and shrubs are keeping everyone well fed.