The Lincoln County News
Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over 140 years
July 1, 2022 at 11:51 am
Damariscotta historian Calvin Dodge built this church-themed birdhouse in the 1970s. Calvins son Robert restored the house, which now serves bluebirds near Robert’s home in Connecticut. (Photo courtesy Robert Dodge)
This spring I installed 15 birdhouses in my backyard and meadow and waited for the mid-May migration of birds to arrive. Sure enough, they arrived early and wasted no time taking up free boarding in the birdhouses. It is now June 12 and so far I have seen two birdhouses of tree swallows hatch out and leave their houses and one set of tree swallows is still feeding their just-hatched brood.
The parents are flying and darting across the meadows in search of any flying bug they can catch in mid-air and bring back to the nest for their young to eat. These tree swallows make dozens of trips a day to feed their young, they lay four to six white eggs in a feather-lined cup of grass. They are a great bird to have around because they eat thousands of black flies and mosquitoes a day.
Now for some great news; so far I have had six houses of bluebirds hatch out. They lay four to six eggs in a loose cup of grasses. My neighbor Patti Whitten, who lives across the road from me, has also had a nest of Eastern blue birds now taking up home in a birdhouse.
My son Robert and his wife Stephanie gave me a special birdfeeder for my birthday. It has a certain size opening in a wire cage where only small birds can fly in and out. I put many dry meal worms in it each morning and evening and in no time the feeder is full of bluebirds and their young. This type of feeder works very well.
This past Sunday I had a couple of friends come and spend an hour or so and we all sat on the sun porch. To their amazement, the area around the suet feeder was full of all types of woodpeckers feeding their young who had just left the nest.
I start off with a beautiful golden-fronted woodpecker feeding two of her young. The golden-fronted woodpecker has a red cap and orange nape. This woodpecker spent about five minutes feeding good size bites of suet to her young. Then a hairy woodpecker came with her young and she spent some time feeding her young with bills full of suet. A block of suet only lasts two days with so much feeding going on
Both of my friends said they had never seen so many woodpeckers up close feeding their young. Even the male cardinal has been eating the suet. The black-capped chickadee, the brown-headed cow bird, gray catbird, and common grackle all like the taste of suet.
The two grape jelly-filled containers I put out have steady visits from the gray catbird and the beautiful Baltimore oriole. They just like the sweet flavor of the grape jelly. The gray catbird will take five or six bill-fulls of grape jelly each time he comes.
I have now filled my hummingbird feeder for the third time and we have a good number of these humming birds in our area. I also noticed a large number of black crows in our area this spring, and a good number of red-winged black birds in the meadow. I have not seen the Cooper’s Hawk lately. Maybe he is done feeding his young and they are able to take care of themselves.
This morning, as I stood at the kitchen sink washing the breakfast dishes, to my dismay, a large gray squirrel was sitting on top of the feeder, helping himself to the grape jelly, and he seemed to like it.
Now for my little vegetable garden: the radishes are up and are doing well, the summer squash are up, and the cosmos seed in the flowerbeds have popped above the ground. I am watering them two times a day.
My neighbor Patti has been bringing me some great and wonderful greens which I make into a nice vegetable salad for my evening meal. I also enjoy a BLT with whole wheat bread for an evening meal with a large glass of iced tea or lemonade.
As I finish this article I am once again sitting on the sun porch and I can see two hen turkeys coming out of the tall hay grass. They must have 20 little ones following behind them out into the newly mowed back lawn. Here these young turkeys can easily spot bugs and insects for food. I truly find as I age I enjoy everything Mother Nature has to offer me and I thank the good Lord I still have good eyesight and can hear the songs of many of the birds.
I have just put out several slices of dark bread that have gone by. The back yard is full of black crows and they are sure making a sound out there. The blue jays also like the small pieces of bread. I notice when the crows or blue jays take the bread they fly down into the meadow where there is an open spring and where they can get a fresh, cool drink.
My friend Richard Hopkins used to tell me that when the Knowltons owned their farm, they used to keep two milk cans in the cold water spring and the cold water in the spring kept the milk fresh for family use.
The past two weeks the yard and my car have been covered with a yellow coat of pollen. This year the pollen dust has made my eyes water and I find myself sneezing a lot. The dahlias have popped up through the soil and look so green. I can hardly wait till I can see their large and beautiful blossoms in my yard once again.
Please keep safe. Enjoy the season and keep yourself in shape. Take a walk often and enjoy Mother Nature around you.
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