Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Friday, June 12, 2020

Backyard Happenings

Photo copyright 2020 by Barbara Kelly

I’m writing this on June 12. Sunrise is at 5:13 am and sunset at 9:03 pm. Birds are noticing that day length is changing by only a few seconds each day as we get close to the solstice. Most are settled into their breeding territories now, but the cold has probably delayed nesting or led to some failures here in Duluth, where right this moment, according to my thermometer, it’s 46 degrees outside and my furnace is running.  

I’m loving listening to early morning bird song, though the orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, catbird, Brown Thrashers, and Red-eyed Vireos have all moved on, and not that many birds are sticking around to nest. But how can I feel bereft when I still have a wealth of robins, chickadees, and wrens?   

Listeners and blog readers are sharing their cool birds, too. After I wrote about my love of the dawn chorus, Polly Edington of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, wrote:   
Your yesterday's blog inspired me to get up at 4:30 am instead of turning my light on and reading...by 4:50 I was sitting on my camp stool and opened the back door to a concert of bird songs!!  I was going to say cacophony but when I looked the word up to see how to pronounce it...it doesn't fit...raucous noise...no way!  Just like you said, birds were singing away!!  The most pronounced was the robin and after about 5 minutes I heard a faint: hey sweetie so I knew the chickadee was coming near.  When the robins took a short breather the hey sweeties kept right on!  A crow was cawing off and on in the background!  Just as the sun was coming up a blue jay came flying by to the ground feeder I'd put out and then to the ground at the foot of my rose bush...probably after the eggshells I use to feed my rose bush!  Then a robin flew past me!  At 5:30 I went back in to get my hummingbird feeder put back together and filled...  
That’s what I call starting the morning right. Polly’s right that I do use the word "cacophony" a lot, but I spell it cacawphony and use it specifically to emphasize the raucous caws my crows make when mobbing a predator. As Polly notes, that’s just not the right word for the beautiful singing by robins and chickadees.  


Photo copyright 2020 by Barbara Kelly

And speaking of robins and chickadees, Barbara Kelly of Hayward, Wisconsin, sent me an update about her robin family, which I wrote about on my May 25 blogpost. She managed to get photos of all three fledglings with their mother on June 11, over a week after they left the nest. What happy news that is!   

Photo copyright 2020 by Barbara Kelly
Photo copyright 2020 by Barbara Kelly

Photo copyright 2020 by Barbara Kelly

And as far as my favorite bird of all, I heard from Lee Guthrie of Hudson, Wisconsin, whose chickadees are raising young in a charming bird box constructed to look like the old-fashioned schoolhouse Lee attended in Waukesha. 

Photo copyright 2020 by Lee Guthrie

Now Lee sent photos showing the nestlings, very close to fledging so at their very most adorable.  

Photo copyright 2020 by Lee Guthrie
Photo copyright 2020 by Lee Guthrie

I’m feeling extremely contented here on Peabody Street with my birds and my own little family. But social distancing is so much lovelier when we keep in touch, so it’s very special to get such wonderful news from people. I hope you’re managing well, too, during this difficult time. Stay safe and well, dear reader. 

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