Feathered friends make their presence known

Published 8:54 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The sweet sound of bird songs fill the air and there is nothing like a spring morning stroll through the yard. While I leisurely sip on my steamy mug of coffee and absorb my surroundings, the cool morning breeze and the early morning sunshine create a perfect combination of bliss that embraces all it touches and fills the air with a fresh static charge that is life.

Walking along the perennial flower beds, I can’t help but take notice of all the butterflies flitting about this early in the season. I have also spied two humming birds at the feeder; apparently they have returned. How wonderful that nature has provided these beautifully delicate creatures for us to enjoy during the absence of the garden’s colorful blooms.

My attention is suddenly diverted to the gold finches that are gathered about the herb garden. I notice their yellow feathers grow more vibrant in color with every passing day. They busy themselves flying to and fro between the thistle feeder and the young Sargent crab apple tree happily enjoying the easy meal that has been provided for them.

Meanwhile, the little Wrens nervously poke their heads out from the nest they have made in my arborvitae. Ever the watchful guardians, they are also the main singers in the feathered chorus that fills the air with beautiful sound.

I am distracted by a lukewarm sip of my morning beverage and the glimpse of the bottom of the coffee mug … too tepid for my taste buds time for a refill.

First, I must look in on my new blue bird family nesting AAin the wooden bird house on the fence post. The blue birds are my personal favorite of all the birds I share my yard with. Their color is spectacular and their spunky personalities are bar none. They have been keeping a low profile about the yard lately — I assume they have been busy keeping house and sitting on their eggs. Soon they will once again burst forth from the “happy abode” and collect all kinds of insects and worms to feed their young hatchlings.

Birds are beneficial to any yard and garden. By making a meal out of them, they will drastically minimize the number of insects that attack your plants and sometimes you. Some also eat seeds and will help in controlling the weed population. Garden pests are usually at their peak in late spring and early summer which happens to coincide with the hatching of many birds. Once I timed a blue bird’s trips back and forth to the nest with food and in a 10-minute time period I was astounded to count seven trips. They are voracious bug eaters!

Lest we not leave out the lesser seen and heard of the avian world. Raptors like eagles, hawks and owls are also beneficial. They feed on pestilent rodents and can be very helpful in controlling the numbers of these unpleasant little beasties.

Nature sure is grand. Time to fetch that second mug of coffee.

Dawn Conrad is a columnist for The K-V Dispatch. Her email address is conrad.gardenmuse@gmail.com.