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Gardening For Wildlife, #017
May 21, 2007

Waves of bright yellow wild mustard still adorn some of the fields near here.

My Columbines are in full bloom and look quite nice.

Temperatures are still a bit unstable here in Southwest Michigan.

This past week there was a smattering of frost.

Now you would think that mid May is a bit late for frost, but living in the North you learn not to get to carried away when it comes to planting gardens and tender plants.

I would rather wait an extra week or two to plant than have things nipped or spend an evening trying to cover everything up with whatever I can get my hands on.

Hey, I've been there more than once.

Besides, I've been so busy at work and trying to do other things around here.

It just doesn't pay to get a big jump on planting season.

I'm sure our Southern and West coast friends are chuckling right now.

I visit Pookie everyday when I'm in the backyard.

Well, at least I say hi and sometimes pat his marker.

It is so quiet without him.

Poor Akita........................

She gets so much more attention now, but I can still notice how she misses her friend as well.

She perks up when we mention Pookie.

The first robins of the season have fledged.

Papa robin takes over parenting this batch while mom is off building another nest.

When the fledglings become more adept at flying, they join pops and the other males in the roosting trees.

By the time this batch of young have learned to fend for themselves, the second batch has hatched.

Mom and dad are both feeding full time again.

Depending on location, robins will have 2 to 4 clutches a year.

With all this activity going on, he still has time to guard his territory, as robins are one of the first to rise and last to sleep.

Robins are also one of the best parents in the bird world.

These fearless avian's will buzz anything or anyone when it comes to protecting a nest or fledglings.

About 25% of robins hatched this year will see their first birthday.

Experts suggest that robins are the most populous bird in North America.

Still, it's a rough life for all our feathered friends.

It is so important that we help our birds.

Fresh water

Habitats that offer food, protection and a place to raise a family.

Proper feed and seed

Minimize the use of insecticides.

These are but a few of the things we can do to help.

I know I've mention this before, however with new readers all the time I must repeat myself once in awhile.

Color or the lack of is so important in the bird world.

Take time and watch how birds with bright colors and or bright colored breasts will find a high spot to sing and show off.

Many of these birds like meadowlarks will face the sun so the light reflects off the colors.

This helps him to attract a mate, let others know that this is his territory and just to show off a bit.

I can't hardly stand that.

Can you believe a male showing off for any reason?

That never happens :-)

Does it?

All the more important to plant native trees and shrubs.

Research shows that some fruits and berries contain the chemicals and minerals that some birds need for coloration.

A lack of coloration may mean no breeding this year.

With the Northern cardinal, color means the best territory.

Yep, the brightest bird is the dominant cardinal.

He automatically gets the best territory and if you notice, is the boss.

Birds like Jays and chickadees that are look a likes ........

Well, color plays a role here too.

The birds may look the same to you and me, but to another jay or chickadee,

They see in ultra violet.

Colors and markings we can't see are ooh la,la. to these birds.

A lack of color plays a key role for nesting.

It is important for the female to have her nest and herself blend in with her surroundings.

Still in her own right, she is a thing of beauty.

An odd ball in the bird world is the Kingfisher.

Odd in the fact that she is more colorful than he is.

Besides the bluish and white colors of the male, she also supports a rusty orange patch or stripe on her throat or upper chest area.

One day I may go into more detail on colors.

Hummers are regular visitors now.

I do quite well for living in suburbia,

You guys that have several hummers are the envy of the rest of us.

Especially if they are ruby-throated hummers.

As aggressive as these little birds are, how do you manage to keep them all happy?

Butterflies that over wintered are becoming more common.

Swallowtails, sulphurs and others are flitting around.

I do enjoy the way nature works.

Some over winter as butterflies, some as chrysalis that come to life or hatch as butterflies.

The only butterfly that migrates is the Monarch.

We don't see them until July.

It takes 3 to 4 generations of monarch to make it from Mexico to here.

Yet, the last generation here makes it all the way to Mexico without a map or someone to follow.

Now there is "Nature's" GPS at its best once again.

Yes. I know I'm all over the place today.

Sometimes It just works out that way sometimes.

Especially when I don't have time to prepare.

A bit of this and some of that.

Karen just commented on how pretty the goldfinches are.

Yes, they sure are.

We always have plenty of goldies.

The sock is always busy and I sure do get a kick out of them on the upside down feeder.

Watching those yellow butts twirl around with ease.

The Rose breasted grosbeak continues to visit.

That's a good thing, usually they leave after a couple of weeks.

Still no Indigo buntings though.

If you have some extras, feel free to send them my way.

I miss the buntings.

We didn't see any last year either. :-(


With Memorial day next week, Your newsletter will come on Tuesday.

No matter where you are living, or where you are from.

Canada, Great Britain, the United States or else where.

Take a moment to thank our fallen and living heroes.

Family members, friends, neighbors, anyone.

Thank those that gave their lives so we can live.

Thank those that are willing to give their lives.

Military, police, firefighters,

Thank them

You may have your own heroes to remember.


It's time to fly for now.

Be sure to smile and share it with someone.

You can't help feel good when you smile and you feel better when you get one back.

Smiles are contagious.

As always my friend.

"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.

Ron Patterson

PS. Feel free to forward to friends and family.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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