Perhaps this is another of those signs of global warming, or an impending apocalypse or something, but I was struck recently by the number of bird species appearing in my yard this year. All the usual suspects (robins, chickadees, sparrows and other common sorts) are here, but there are also some rarities.
We were absolutely delighted when a pair of Baltimore orioles showed up in the yard and nested somewhere nearby — usually they’d show up for a day and then move on. I put out orange halves for them for a couple of weeks before they started nesting and lost interest in the fruit.
It was also fun to discover that red-bellied woodpeckers like oranges as well – and that the orioles had no issues with sharing the pergola while they all pecked at the citrus.
Bluebirds are always welcome visitors, but this year the bluebird saga was full of drama. A pair selected our house, set up housekeeping and laid their eggs. Unfortunately, the day after the babies hatched the mother was killed by some predator (we think a raccoon that passed through). I’m speculating that they were first-time parents, because the male didn’t seem to realize that the babies needed food and warmth; he just flitted around the back yard and ignored the kids. Not surprisingly, they all died in a day or so. But lo and behold, just a couple of days after I buried the babies and cleaned out the box, a new pair showed up! They took over the box, and their babies hatched about a week ago. It would be lovely to have a second brood, but we’ll see.
Other visitors this spring include several birds that typically disappear into the deep woods to have their families — titmice and nuthatches. We normally don’t see them from about April until November, but they’re at the feeder constantly now. There’s much hummingbird activity, which we just love.
A great moment came the other night when we saw a flicker banging away at something in the grass. It’s been years since we had a flicker in the yard! I don’t know what it all means, but I’m loving every minute of it.