[Locally, the weather] has been April showers that bring May flowers, and it also lessened the fire danger by keeping the leaf litter wet. The outdoor burning ban is still on until May 14. If we get some more warm days, the trees should be pushing out their leaves and flowers. Several wildflowers have popped out from the leaf cover and showed us their beauty. Yellow coltsfoot lines the roadsides in many places and the flowers face the sun as it goes from east to west. It looks like a dandelion flower, but it has little leaves on the stem of the flowers. Wild oats is a single yellow hanging bell, [and] the trout lily is out everywhere with its yellow flower and speckled green and brown leaves.
Another one that was first up in my flower garden was Virginia bluebells, which has filled out nicely. Some of my red columbine next to the house is pushing out flowers, and the hummers will be working that when they arrive. Speaking of Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, it’s time to put those feeders out as they will be here by the weekend. My earliest arrival was May 4th, but with all this screwy weather…you never know just when they will arrive. All the migrating birds have been battling bad weather ever since they made it across the gulf. Some have gone through tornadoes, windstorms, rain, snow, and ice storms in many areas.
Loons got knocked down in Wisconsin in ice storms as they were traveling north. Their wings iced up and it put them on the ground (and not in a lake,) so they were helpless to get airborne [again]. They came down in farm fields, parking lots, and on highways. The Loons that came down in the woods (where no one found them) were food for predators. Some that were found injured could be
rehabbed and released. Others that were not hurt could be taken to open water and released after being thawed out. This probably affected some songbirds that were flying in that weather [as well.] If they couldn’t get thawed out after being grounded, they would probably perish.
The mighty Mississippi River has roared over its banks from snow melt in Minnesota. This is going to affect all the downstream communities all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. It will be a long Spring of flooding for these residents along the river. The temperature difference between hot and cold weather has caused many bad storms and tornadoes from Texas to the east coast. Just today [May 1] there were several tornadoes in eastern coastal Florida, West Palm Beach, and Merritt Island sustained much damage [as well], but no loss of life [was] reported. Then later in the day, a tornado ripped through Virginia Beach causing much damage to homes and utilities.
The hunt goes on in Cleveland, Texas for a man who was asked by his neighbor to stop shooting his AR-15 in his side yard, so their child could take a nap. The man came over to their house with his AR-15 and killed five people, including an eight-year-old boy. The search is still ongoing for the suspected killer. I got my bear fence operational, and the ducks and turkeys can walk right under it to get some food that has dropped on to the ground from the feeders. The ducks walk all the way up from the pond to get some food, so they get their morning exercise. I cleaned three wheelbarrows full of spent seed shells from under the feeders. I’ve been using forty pounds a week, and it was nearly four inches deep under the feeders.
Yesterday, [April 30] in the rain and windy weather, a Sharp-Shinned Hawk swooped through and grabbed a Slate-Colored Junco after a short chase. Today, I had a Brown Tree Creeper around most of the day, working on the suet cakes when the bigger birds were away. It is a tiny bird…not much bigger than a hummer. I took down my net while it was still dry on Saturday morning [April 29] after catching a few birds. I will be taking that over to the Crown Point Banding Station on Friday [May 5] to use as a spare net.
The banding station will be open to the public [on] Saturday morning and every day after that until Saturday, [May] 20. People who wish to visit, can watch us band birds we catch and take pictures of them. We have several school groups scheduled to visit us to learn about what we do, and some of the students might get to hold a bird. Many times, they get their parents to bring them back during the weekend to show them what we do.
Turkey season opens tomorrow [May 2] and that might be a wet one, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo at top: Virginia bluebells. Photo by Gary Lee.
Gary – hope you have great weather for the banding station!
…and don’t forget the Tick-Be-Gone!