The frost has zapped the life out of most of the flowers around the yard but there is none hardy plant that hangs on. The light green foliage of the celandine doesnít seem phased by the cold nights. Since April, the 1-2 ft. plants have put out their dime sized yellow flowers. They grow haphazardly around the flower beds on the shady side of the house and add some welcome color where there is little.
It was six months ago that I first heard the spring songs of the white- throated sparrows. These beautiful little ground feeding sparrows have a song that I look forward to hearing as the snow finally melts away in spring. With the fall migration they are back to pick up the tiny pieces of cracked corn that I scatter on the ground for them.
In spring they clearly whistle twice, first low, then high, followed by three short low whistles. There are 8 or 10 white-throated sparrows around the yard now but their lovely songs stay quiet inside them!
Another ground feeding bird has returned from their breeding grounds far to the north. The slate-colored juncos. They too prefer to pick their food up from the ground and kick through the dry leaves to find the cracked corn. They may stay and spend the winter at my bird feeders but the white- throated sparrows will move much further south.
The fall colors will peak in a week or so here in the Kickapoo Valley and the leaves will then cover the ground. What a great time of the year to spend some of your spare time outside with mother nature. Take in some fresh cool air while you kick through the leaves on a walk down natureís trail.
While youíre on your walk fill your pockets with the seeds from wildflowers along the way. Itís a good time to harvest the seeds of flowers like brown-eyed susans, yellow coneflowers, bergamot, new england asters and sunflowers just to name a few. I scatter the seeds around the borders of the yard and let nature take its course. It's always a surprise to see what comes up.
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