It’s been a warm, dry fall so far. With the drought, birds and critters have appreciated the water in birdbaths and the pond. But the drought was broken as reported in our previous post, and we have started hearing toads again at night.
A flock of several hundred grackles passed through a few days ago and we have started seeing Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Surely colder weather is not far off.
July has been full of birds. We think our yard has never been as full of birds as this past month. A cake of suet lasts about a day and a half and we’re filling large feeders every 4 days. Catbirds are everywhere, and we are getting up at sunrise to beat them and the robins to our ripening figs.
Birds are still fledging, and some bird houses up and down the street and on the Nature Trail are hosting their third brood of this season. Two of the photos below, shot through our window, are of a baby catbird who wasn’t quite quite ready to fly and wound up in boxwood for a few hours. His parents continued to feed him and eventually he got his wings and left.
Gray Catbird in the blueberries
American Goldfinch on Agastache
Carolina Wrens – nature trail
Cooper’s Hawk right outside the door
Gray Catbird juvenile stranded in the boxwood
Gray Catbird feeding the stranded juvenile
Eastern Bluebird juvenile begging
House Finch gathering
American Goldfinch on Coneflower
What’s missing are butterflies and dragonflies. They were everywhere this time last year and this year we are seeing very few. Maybe the birds are eating the larvae. We are hoping that mosquito spraying is not involved in their disappearance.
Mild weather continued in March. It actually felt like Spring as we passed the first official day of the season. Last month we told you we heard frogs. This month we’ve been hearing them more and seeing them, as well as lots of tadpoles.
March’s photos include nesting birds, native bees and two butterfly species: Sulfur and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Also both of our native honeysuckle vines are blooming coinciding with the arrival of hummingbirds. So be on the lookout.
As you can see below, the Cooper’s Hawks are still here. This one had just caught a Mourning Dove.
Especially if you are foraging for food, Like the Song Sparrow below in the native grass.
Song Sparrow on native grass
Native grass seedhead
We plant for color and to attract pollinators in the spring, summer and fall. But when winter comes and the garden turns brown, leaving plants with seed heads will provide much needed food for all manner of wildlife – especially birds.
Like this row of river oats beside the path.
River Oats in Winter
River Oats in Spring
River Oats seedheads
Goldenrod’s spectacular fall display leaves much in the way of food.
Goldenrod in the Fall
Goldenrod in the Winter
Seeds in the heart of spent Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans are a bonus.
Black-eyed Susan seedhead
American Goldfinch on Cone Flower
Cone Flower seedhead
Even plants in pots on the deck can provide good foraging material.
Our wildlife photos for December are mostly of birds. Of the 22 species shown below, some are migrants, some are winter residents and some are here year-round. With all the unseasonably warm weather there have been lots of ladybugs. We were unable to get a photo of our pal the opossum, but take it from us, he’s a handsome guy.
It’s been warmer today, but the bird feeders were about as busy as they get. Lots of House Finches, Goldfinches, and Northern Cardinals. Also present were Eastern Bluebirds, Brown-headed Nuthatches, White-breasted Nuthatches and Brown Thrashers.