It was a long, drawn out winter that lingered to the very end, and now it's summer's turn to slowly pull Spring to a warmer place. With the help of some warm sunny days, leaf-out will come fast. A week from now the trees will explode in a splash of green that will cover this woodland landscape. So many shades of green, they can't be counted and all blend together for the beautiful definition for "going green!" The cycling timing by Mother Nature is always to her advantage. Her eternal plan has a place for all who feel the rhythm that life provides.
The leaves come at just the right time for the young Red-tailed hawks, who are still in the nest, but are now big enough to be left alone for short periods. They are a couple of weeks old, and still covered with down, and the sun feels good, but not too much hot sun. The leaves will provide them with shade they will need to protect them as the sun gets hotter.
About the time of leaf-out, the May apples open their umbrellas of large leaves as the forest floor becomes shaded. The Robins nest in the top of a tall tree is now very easy to spot, but in a week it will be nearly impossible to see. The Robins instinctively know this; I never see a Robin's nest in the top of a dead tree.
The courtship period is just beginning for some of the wild birds. It's an event that defines the very purpose of their kind, but doesn't start until the timing is just right. That time has already come for some birds, and the nesting stage has already started. There are actually some who have already fledged their young. Early nesters here in Southwest Wisconsin include the Great horned owl, the Prairie horned lark and the Woodcock. I have seen the nests of these early birds in late February. They have finished their Spring rituals before many of the other wild birds start.
Now it's the Mourning dove's turn to c-o-o-o together in the cedar tree and build a modest little nest of sticks. The little House wrens are already busy carrying small sticks to stuff into the nearest birdhouse. A beautiful green-headed Mallard duck stands alone on a submerged log along the river bank. The morning sun glistens off his handsome feathers as he preens them. He does more preening now that he's alone, while his mate is sitting tightly over a down covered nest that holds 10 warm eggs. It's his time for waiting.
The smaller Blue-winged teals also are beginning their slow separation from each other. The female will lay an egg each day in her nest but won't begin to incubate them until the last one has been laid. The nests of these birds that I've seen in Southern Wisconsin, can be up to a half-mile away from the nearest water. They prefer undisturbed grassland. Unfortunately, undisturbed grasslands are a thing of the past, and the Blue-winged teal will soon follow.
Until now, the pair of Sandhill cranes could be seen in the same place in an open field every morning. Now their great calls and dancing leaps have ended, and the lone male preens as he stands on one long leg, and waits.
It is their destiny and not their fate, and all good things come to those who wait. So bide your time until it's right, and once again, they will take flight. Now is the very best time of the year to allow yourself to see how important Nature's timing is. What is going on around you, and when does it happen? In no time, you will be linking it all together one piece at a time. Be a part of Nature's timing and harmony by simply watching and listening to what's going on around you. I recommend everyone spend some time outside each day—it's crucially therapeutic.
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