The field of alfalfa hay is now tall enough to sway in waves of lush green in the warm breeze. Soon the hay will be baled and stored in the barn, feed for the dairy cows next winter.
A beautiful yellow-breasted meadowlark perches on a nearby fence post and sings his lovely prairie song. He waits and stands guard as his mate is snuggled on her nest of eggs nestled out of view in the thick grass along the fence line.
Many different species of male birds are now seen by themselves as they wait for their mates who are incubating their eggs.
A large male crow searches through the gravel along the roadside for insects. When he finds something good to eat, he flies to the next nest high in a tall pine tree and presents it to the hungry female. She does most of the incubation of the eggs and depends on the male to bring her food. Itís important not to let the eggs get cold so she is bound to stay huddled over them.
A single Canada goose stands by himself along the bank of the river and keeps his sharp eyes peeled for predators. His mate has laid her eggs in a down-lined nest on the top of a muskrat house in the middle of the farm pond.
The waiting game is also played out by a drake mallard. The colorful duck spends most of the day sitting in the water in the pond waiting for the female to finally appear with their family of little brown ducklings.
In the late afternoon, the hen turkeys may leave their nest for a short time to forage for food. They wander alone through the alfalfa field snapping up insects and the juicy green leaves, quickly filling their crops before returning to the nest for the night. She will hatch the 8 to 12 eggs and raise the chicks without any help from the tom turkey.
The bold male robins search the short grass in the yard for fat worms to take to his mate. She is on her nest in a nearby crab apple tree and depends on the male to bring her food while she keeps the blue eggs warm.
The house wrens have returned and are busy carrying small sticks to the birdhouse in the yard and garden. They may build a nest in 3 or 4 birdhouse but will lay eggs in only one of them.
The warmer weather has brought the return of the swallows, swifts and hummingbirds. These are small delicate birds who spend much of the day flying about in search of food. It takes a lot of energy to do this and itís easier to save their precious energy if the nights are warm while they sleep.
A tiny meadow jumping mouse has appeared from his winter nest 2 or 3 feet under the ground. They have been hibernating there since last November and are now hungrily in search of tasty insects. Quickly jumping through the grass they can easily be mistaken for jumping frogs. This seldom seen mouse has large hind fee and an extra long tail. A pair of jumping mice will raise 3-4 young up to three times through the summer.
Keep your eyes and ears open. The signs of new life are everywhere and all you need to do to be a part of it is take a walk down natureís trail.
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