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Gardening For Wildlife, Issue #014 Life is good, Stewardship
April 30, 2007

It's hard to believe that this is the last day of April already.

That means tomorrow is May Day.

I asked this last year, but I will bring it up again so newer readers can respond.

When you were a child, did you make a May basket for your mom or anyone else?

You don't see or hear about May Day or May baskets anymore.

With the first of the month being tomorrow, it is a good time and a good reminder to clean feeders and your baths real well.

Get rid of the gunk that builds up in and on the feeder.

Oxygen bleach (Stuff like Oxi-Clean) works well, as the foamy bubble loosen stuff that brushes can't get at.

Do you ever have one of those days when you wish you could just stay in bed a while longer?

That was me this past Thursday.

My day off and of course, it had to rain all day (still can't get to my yard play).


I laid there a while longer and listened to the rain.

It was actually quite relaxing and one of those things we rarely get to do.

Besides a rainy day or two, last week was one of those weeks a backyard birder or "Naturalist" wishes would happen more often.

Birds on the migration trail stop off to pay a visit.

Red breasted grosbeaks, white crowned sparrows and the green heron is back.

Toss in the regulars and the occasional visit and a person can get all excited.

I haven't seen a junco now the past two days. I imagine they're headed north for the summer.

The goldfinches have pretty much changed colors. Though a few of them are still checkered.

You may notice with your male goldfinches that some are brighter than others.

It takes two years for goldies to really turn that bright yellow.

That means the ones that are a bit dull are last years babies.

Now I live in suburbia.

Within a mile or two of some of the busiest streets in Michigan.

Yet, We are blessed to have a pond or two about 100 yards away.

A nice wooded area within 200 yards and lots of swamp and wetlands surrounding the area.

All protected land :-)

This offers the opportunity for several birds to visit and for me to go out and visit them.

Sometimes I see some interesting sights and realize it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Like walking to the pond and seeing a pair of Grebes visit.

Often some of the woodpeckers or small flocks of chickadees I will see in the woods.

This past week was a moment for me that was like National Geographic or Wild America.

I was walking Keet out by the field and the woods.

Of course her nose was to busy to notice anything.

I heard some rustling to my left.

There were two young Tom turkeys doing their wanna be mating tustle.

Just practicing I imagine.

No sound, just two turkeys with their necks stretched and wrapped around each other's neck.

Back and forth they went.

It would've made a good dance step.

I watched for almost a minute, when out of the thicket came the "Big Boy".

Strutting his stuff, head and wattle as sky blue as can be.

He spreads out his tail feathers and lowers his wings in the perfect pose.

Just like that the two young birds stop dancing and look at him.

Finally I was spotted.

As casual as can be, the three birds turn around and walk off into a thicket.

It's times like this I wish I would bring a camera with me on my walks.

Akita never noticed a thing and I felt so blessed to witness this for the first time.

Sunday's afternoon walk (by myself) took me to the woods.

It's nice to see things green up and wildflowers like violets and marsh marigolds in bloom.

A creek runs through the woods and I saw my first mama duck of the season taking her eight babies for a swim.

Life is good isn't it?

Spring is by far my favorite season.

I was reminded that the sense of smell can be lost by certain illness and allergies.

I should have mentioned that.

Still, I was glad to hear from many of you.

It seems that brought back a few trips down memory lane.

That's a good thing sometimes, isn't it?

I have this orange crate I step onto every so often so please bare with me once again.

This past week was "Earth Day" and "Arbor Day".

It's nice to have a day set aside as reminders, but everyday should be, don't you think?

This is our home after all.

God made us stewards of this planet.

That's right, we are responsible in many ways for her well being.

Often on my walks in the wild, there are reminders of humans.

Trash left behind, plastic bags blowing around,

You know the scene.

Part of my responsibilities as a Wildlife Habitat Naturalist is to pick up after others.

We are responsible for the air we breathe, the plants and animals that surround us and those that live amongst us.

It a big responsibility that we must take seriously or risk losing everything.

Wouldn't that be sad.

Must we strip acres of land?

Can we find a way to leave some trees or plant others elsewhere?

Certain insects rely on certain plants.

If those plants are gone, so will the insects be.

We complain when deer eat our gardens.

Coyotes walk down main street Chicago and Detroit.


We invade their territories, not the other way around.

Temperatures on a parking lot are a full 10 degrees warmer then not black-topped areas.

Stripping the land not only kills off plants and displaces animals and other life forms, it also harms the land and waterways.

Rains wash away tops soils that end up in our water ways.

Planet Earth really is a living planet.

She is so full of life.

Several living communities wrapped up in one big ball.

God insisted that his smartest creation take care of her.

Have we?

Earth is fighting back with global warming, heavy storms, drought, etc.

It's not just air pollution that is causing global warming.

Look at the destruction of the rainforests globally.

This messes with global weather conditions.

Trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.

Shoot, out own Federal Government is trying to sell off National forests and its land.

What will that leave for the next generation?

When strip forests, we remove life and sometimes for good.

All in the name of progress and money.

We can help by building our own little habitats.

Maybe spreading throughout a neighborhood.

I've mentioned this before.

150 years ago, Michigan was 95% trees and forest land.

By the year 1900, Michigan was 5% trees.

In 1850 when they first started cutting trees big time, the so called experts figured there were enough trees to last 500 years.

They took care of business in 50 years.

Today, Michigan is 30% forest and trees.

Hopefully with more planned.

Think of all the destruction that took place before conservation.

Don't blame the rabbits and deer for raiding your gardens.

They are trying to survive.

The American Indian are smart and they were smart before we showed up.

They knew to treat the land as a living earth.

They knew she gave back

They knew it wasn't theirs but they were borrowing it.

Well, I better step down from my crate before I really get going.

As you see, I get going and I'm all over the place.

Fortunatly, Karen Keeps my crate hidden most of the time.

Your safe for a while :-)

I don't want to upset you newbies.

I am passionate about our planet and her life.

Not just birds, but our planet!

What's that saying?

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature"

Trust me, we aren't fooling a thing.

Hummingbird season will be in full swing here in a couple of weeks.

I'm sure for most of you it is already.

Be sure to refresh yourself on hummers by going to

About hummingbirds

There is a bunch of useful information throughout the pages.

Plants, gardens, feeders and on the mating page there is a rare picture of Anna's mating.

Be sure to check it out.

I've managed to get a couple of pages up for shrubs.

"Shrubs of the Northeast and Great Lakes" and "Shrubs of the Southeast".

Native shrubs.

There's also a new page on butterflies.

Well, <>,

It's time to fly for now.

Thank you for allowing me to be long winded today.

Be sure to wear your best smiles this week.

Who can't smile with spring finally here.

Share a smile with a stranger.

As always,

"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. If you enjoyed this letter, please pass it on. Gardening For Wildlife.

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