Despite my love of plants, I never forget that a primary reason for expanding the garden is to entice and support more wildlife.
As I’ve mentioned, our property consists of approximately 5 acres of yard, gardens, orchard and pasture with the remaining acreage (now 47 acres since selling off the back 80 acres to our neighbor, Bill) consisting of forest and wetlands. As a result, we have a healthy number of birds, as well as deer, coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, weasels, possums, woodchucks, fox, and even the occasional bear and moose. And of course our beloved chipmunks and squirrels…
Oh and let’s not forget the reptiles that Nora so loves…the one below paid a visit while she was attempting to enter the vegetable garden.
This year we’ve had great luck with the number and variety that have chosen our property as a nesting ground. We’ve begun to notice some species that we’ve not seen here before, such as the Eastern Kingbird (below). This pair chose to hang out in the old apple tree for the day on Saturday.
We always have the wonderful hummingbirds flitting from blossom to blossom. They seem quite enamored with the globe thistle this year.
Hawks and lately, turkey vultures (below), are often seen overhead as well.
A juvenile Eastern Phoebe (see below) managed to get inside the main barn on Saturday. Thankfully it chirped while I was in there collecting some tools, and I went upstairs to investigate. It was flying around the rafters searching for a way out. I opened the 3 windows and removed the screens, and propped open the upstairs door. After 30 minutes of trying to shoo it out one of the openings, I gave up and went inside. Nora went out shortly afterwards and tried the same, to no avail. Leaving all doors and windows open, we went back inside to dinner, hoping it would find its way out.
Unfortunately, it didn’t get the memo. We spent the next hour and a half desperately trying to either catch or usher the bird outside before nightfall. Phoebes feed on insects, and we were afraid that this one would starve in the barn overnight without its parents (we suspect this was one of the second brood that the mother Phoebe hatched in the sheep barn; the fledglings left the nest a mere week ago). Thankfully Nora came up with the brilliant idea of forming a sort of net by taping some fleece from the veg garden over the heads of two leaf rakes. Coming at the bird from both sides, we were able to gently catch it between and I was able to reach up and get a hold of the young’in. Making sure it was still okay, I set it loose out the open door and off it flew.
We’ve seen it hanging around the house since, so thankfully all is well.