Wet from the morning dew, the tall green grass can't hide a rooster pheasant—his beautiful bright colors jump out at the viewer. No matter where the pheasant is, there's no hiding this fancy show-off. The lush grass doesn't hide the pretty blue wild geraniums. In fact, if anything, the color green complements many other natural colors.
The green leaves would have hidden a silky nest of tent caterpillars but the fuzzy little worms have eaten all the leaves near their nest. Partial to fruit trees, the tent caterpillars may eat every leaf on the tree in the early summer. The good thing is that it probably won't harm the tree and it will leaf out again before autumn. The tent caterpillars have few enemies and most birds won't eat fuzzy caterpillars. The exception is the Black-billed and Yellow-billed cuckoos who don't mind eating fuzzy worms.
One of my favorite spring flowers is one of the most obvious because it clashes so with the green surroundings. The large, white, three-petaled blossoms of the trilliums make them one of the prettiest flowers of Spring. There are special places in central Wisconsin where the trilliums blanket the ground for acres in the woods. The landscape here won't be this white again until the snow comes in the winter.
It's good to hear the songs of the Gray catbird in the yard again. He rambles on and on with an endless variety of different sounds. The single-phrase calls often mimic the songs of other birds the way a mockingbird does. The Brown thrasher also has a similar song, except he mimics each call twice. Hausman's Field Book of Eastern Birds describes the songs of these birds as follows:
Catbird: Plant-a-seed, drop it, cover-it-up, pull-it, eat-it-all, chew-it, etc. One single phrase after another.
Brown thrasher: Plant-a-seed, plant-a-seed, drop-it, drop-it, cover-it-up, cover-it-up, pull-it, pull-it, eat-it-all, eat-it-all, chew-it, chew-it, etc. Each phrase is repeated twice.
These three birds are the entertainers of the bird world. Their diverse varieties of songs are simply just fun to listen to.
The female Rose-breasted grosbeak is about twice the size of a house sparrow and has a subtle streaked, light-brown plumage. They are quite a beautiful sight with a blush of soft yellow on their breasts and flanks. They have the typical thick strong beak that is possessed by all grosbeaks. I'm getting a good look at them now because soon they will be on their nests and I won't see them for a couple of weeks.
As soon as I heard an oriole singing early this morning, I ran for the oranges. The orange halves are placed where the orioles will find them. It only took ten minutes for a bright orange oriole to find the sweet juicy oranges. If you want to know if there is an oriole in the yard, just put out a couple of orange halves where they can see them. If they are there, they will come. Orioles can't seem to resist a free handout of their favorite sweet treat.
And now a few thoughts on the tragic oil spill in the Gulf. There is a lot of bickering over who is to blame for this unnatural catastrophe. Is there anyone who doesn't deny that each and every one of us is to blame? We create the demand for oil. We are the ones who use oil to drive our cars and heat our homes. It is us who have our fingers around the throat of Mother Nature. We are the ones who set examples for our children. It is our lifestyles that are choking the life out of the planet. It's time we face the facts and face our denials before it's too late. This may sound harsh, but it's to the point and it's what Mother Nature is telling us. In order for us to make any changes for the betterment of the earth, we must first make healthy changes in our own lives.
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