I've been enjoying the beautiful birds that come to the feeders each day. They come and go with much less frequency because they are concentrating on catching insects. It's an instinctive act that ensures the birds will eat the most nutritious food they can at a time when they need it most. There is no better food for the birds than insects and they take advantage of nature's bounty.
Amid blue skies and fluffy white clouds a male Bald eagle catches some morning rays from atop his favorite perch. From here he can survey his domain in every direction. His mate has followed the river down stream a mile or so and is hunting for a fresh fish. The wet marshy bog under the eagle's nest is coming to life and already the beautiful yellow flowers of the lily pads are beginning to open. The two young Bald eagles are nearly feathered out and soon they will be jumping to nearby branches and trying their wings. Young fledgling eagles are not good fliers and their maiden flights may be quite shaky, not to mention that first landing. It will take some time to turn that baby fat into muscles strong enough to lift the heavy bird off the ground. When they leave the nest they can weigh more than their parents, but they need some conditioning before they can maneuver in the air. So far it's been a very successful season for the family of eagles.
While some early nesting birds are finishing their nuptial duties, others are just beginning. Already some of the young bluebirds have fledged and some young robins, too. Many others are close to hatching their eggs. Yet, there are some birds that are just getting started with nest building. A good example is the busy Cliff swallows who are beginning to build their unique gourd-shaped mud nests under the country bridges. These cozy little houses are built by carrying one beak full of mud at a time and slowly piecing together the sturdy mud structure where they will raise their young swallows. They gather at the mud hole and flutter their wings like butterflies as they lean over and scoop a bit of mud.
To my surprise, while driving along just east of La Farge, I noticed a flock of 24 pelicans circling high above a plowed field. I had never seen white pelicans in the Kickapoo valley this time of year. Why are they still here? Why aren't they further northwest during the nesting season? Are they all non-breeding juveniles? No sure answers for this one but I expect it's the latter.
The male Mourning dove spends his time alone waiting for his mate who is keeping her two white eggs warm. Nearby a little house wren is busy all day building his nest of sticks inside an old gourd birdhouse. He struggles with each and every small stick as he desperately tries to coax it in the small opening in the gourd.
What would summer be without the warbling song of a House wren? That's just one reason why I have plenty of housing options for them. The wren may build a nest in several different houses but the female will choose only one to lay her eggs. Pound for pound, the little House wren has as much or more energy than any other bird.
While sitting on the screen porch this evening, I notice a face peeking up out of the grass in the background. A raccoon has come to clean up what is left of the sunflower seeds at the bird feeder. I enjoy watching him, and as long as he doesn't cause any trouble he's welcome. So far he just eats, then leaves.
With each passing week there are new flowers blooming in the gardens and some of my early favorites are the irises. There are ten different kinds to enjoy in my yard and they all remind me of my Aunt Bessy's garden from 50 years ago. Such beauty and fragrance really does last forever.
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