The tiny ruby-throated hummingbird eagerly flies to the blossoms, savoring the sweet nectar of the wild columbine. His ruby-red throat glistens in the morning sun and his wings hum a soft melody.
Until the garden flowers are in bloom, he will have to forage for food where he can find it. He will find nourishment from other wild flowers like trilliums, wild geraniums, jacobís ladders, may apples, apple, plum and locust blossoms and many others. The fragrant purple blossoms of the lilacs also attract the little hummer.
The red bee balm in the flower garden is about half-grown and wonít put out flowers until the second or third week of June. The purple phlox wonít bloom for a month after that but Iím hoping for a good crop of scarlet runner beans. The runner beanís orange /red flowers are also one of the hummingbirdís favorites. To supplement their diet they will eat small insects and spiders.
As I watch this busy little bird, he shoots out past me and stops to kiss a lovely blue flag iris at the edge of the pond. The lavender blue of the wild iris is complemented by the light green leaves of new canary grass. A more beautiful sight is hard to imagine.
I walk over for a closer look and as I bend down to sample the blue flagís fragrance, I notice a tiny american copper butterfly just under the flower. If I wouldnít have wanted to smell the flower I wouldnít have seen the pretty butterfly. Slowly backing away I turn and bend down over another iris bloom and let my nose touch the petals.
Each evening Iím serenaded by the call of a single whip-poor-will. When the songs of the other wild birds are asleep, the whip-poor-will begin his lovely song. At first he sings from the deep woods. Over and over and over he calls his name, whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will. Before he has stopped I have counted 150 consecutive calls. Thereís a few moments of silence and the song starts up again from behind the barn. He moves from place to place around his territory each time breaking out in song. For the past several mornings, I have woken to his song just outside my bedroom window. Itís 4:30 am.
A happy little house wren carries sticks to the hanging gourd birdhouse on the porch. The gourd is just outside the back door but that shouldnít detour the wren from living there.
The robinís have built a nest under the eves of the old barn. They will already be raising a second batch of youngsters and I have noticed several second broods of baby cotton-tail rabbits.
The cool weather has finally broke and the soil in my vegetable garden is warm enough to put out the tomato and pepper sets. With a little luck and some old fashioned T.L.C., Iíll be eating ripe tomatoes by mid- august. Itís a long time to wait for a ripe tomato but its well worth it.
I feed the birds year round. It gives me a chance to see the wild birds close-up and in their beautiful nuptial plumage. A dozen goldfinches crowd the platform feeder just out the kitchen window. The males, with their bright canary yellow coats and with them a single bright blue indigo bunting. The goldfinches alone, were a striking sight but the single blue bunting against all that yellow was a special color treat indeed.
Itís hard to believe that only a week ago the thermometer read 26 degrees and a thick white frost covered the ground. Thatís all part of spring time here in the Kickapoo Valley of southwest Wisconsin.
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