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April 13, 2015
The Amaryllis are in bloom.
Once again we have Yolanda (daughter), home from the hospital.
We brought her home this past Wednesday.
Again we give God the glory.
Still she is very weak and once again comes the task of
A new set of struggles begin for Karen and me.
A bit of insult to injury.........
Karen and I managed to pick up a nasty cold along the way, and that doesn't help matters.
Still, we rejoice.
We pray for the many who lost family member and had their lives totally altered from the devastating storms this past week.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
God is the creator of life and the gift giver.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. (James 1:17)
The heavy spring rains have finally washed away the winter crud.
We pray for the drought stricken regions too.
This week's letter touches on birds and nesting.
I remember when I was a child, and well into my adult years and old wives tale or something like that.
When the robins would sing, my mom would always says something along this line
" Listen to the robins sing, it's going to rain."
Mom believed the robins song were songs about rain.
In most Michigan Aprils, we are blessed with the proverbial "April Showers" that "Bring May Flowers".
Still, birds aren't singing about the rain coming.
All those bird songs we are so blessed to hear, are for a couple of special reasons.
To romance a lifelong mate.
To find a seasonal mate.
To warn other male of the same species "Enter at Your Own Risk", this is my territory.
It is nature that put them all on display for us to enjoy.
We are blessed to have the music extended over a period of several weeks.
Birds mate and nest over a period of time.
About time the last batch are nesting,
The first batch is starting up for a second go round.
But it is the first songs that are louder, and so melodic.
To keep the birds in your yard, offer nesting materials, as well as nesting sites.
Birds are nesting, and busy constructing nest.
Nest are constructed of sticks and twigs.
Dead grass, green moss, and old feathers.
Animal hair, lichen, wood particles.
Watching various nests being built is another joy of nature.
It always amazes me how Orioles can weave, how robins can construct a nest that often survives the most brutal weather.
Even through the winter.
How Barn swallows construct a nest with hundreds of mud balls and make it stick.
The massive stick built nest of Bald eagles, yet the inner nest is lined with soft grasses and feathers.
Spiderwebs, lichen, moss and other delicate material make up a hummingbirds nest.
No wonder we love the world of birds.
Last fall I reminded you about leaf litter and lawn waste.
Placing it in your gardens and flower beds is one of 'Nature's' mulch and best compost.
Not only does the debris protect, it also breaks down and feeds your plants.
Just like the workings of a forest floor.
Instead of prim and proper, pull up weeds and having to water more often.....
Leaf litter and such performs multiple duties.
Now I know many of you forgot, or simply prefer the look of dirt (I was one of you), and went ahead and raked.
You are not only doing your gardens and beds harm, but you are also doing a great dis-service for your birds in more ways than you may know.
Leaf litter not only is used for nest building, but also hides food sources for your birds.
I prefer they use what God intended for them.
Do Not use lint from your dryer.
Birds will gladly use the soft down from the dryer.
You may even think you are doing them a favor.
Don't be tempted.
Too many baby birds have choked on this lint.
To compound matters, soft lint can retain water, even repel water.
To the point, where baby birds drown and eggs rot.
Instead, you can also offer unrefined cotton, not refined cotton balls or the stuff in pill bottles.
Unrefined cotton can be purchase at bird stores just for this purpose.
Loosely tie strips of yarn or string to a tree branch or shrub.
Many birds love hair.
Go to a pet groomer, or even a person groomer and snag a bag of hair.
Instead of tossing that old feather pillow or down filled coat, place a pile of feathers and watch the fun begin.
Few birds seem to prize a feather like Tree swallows.
These swallows will chase each other for the rights to a feather .
(Red-Tailed Hawk Nest)
I have seen nests with old gum wrappers, Easter grass, and old cigarette butts.
Birds will use whatever is available for nest building (not always the case for nesting sites,however).
Many birds pick out certain locations, and usually it is the female to do so (sound familiar guys).
Eagles and hawks like high, open places (most birds that soar), tall open trees, cliffs and man made objects.
Birds in the swallow family prefer open habitat, where they are free to glide into homebase.
Orioles often construct on the end of a branch, on a tall tree.
Other birds require thickets for protection.
Still some birds nest on the ground, most ground nesters require leaf litter and dead grasses for protection.
Still other ground nesters like Killdeer and Sandpipers use camouflage to blend in with their surroundings.
Surprise of surprises, some birds including Turkey vultures and Belted-kingfishers nest below the surface of the ground.
Yes, habitat is just as important as nesting materials.
You get the idea by now.
Take note of this one thing.
If birds feel threatened, or there is too much human activity.........
Most species of birds will desert a nest.
Eggs and all.
(Red-winged Blackbird Nest)
Especially an inexperienced (new parent).
View from a respectable distance and you may be rewarded with a new feathered family.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the wee.
Confidence on the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside.
This goes for everyone.
The Bible puts it something like this.
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men (and women), be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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