It’s May and I’m spending most of my time out in the field planting, weeding and installing irrigation for our summer crops. While most of my day is solitary, I have been enjoying the vast diversity of birds on the farm; watching them gather materials for nests and singing their lively songs. Each has their own behavior and habits on the farm:
A robin has built a nest in my camellia bush this year and digs for insects in my lawn.
The humming birds are hilariously entertaining me, buzzing each other away from flowers and bird feeders hanging outside my kitchen, and racing around the yard as if in a fast forward movie.
The wild turkeys strut about doing their mating gobble dance and driving Luna crazy nesting in the pine trees at night.
The barn swallows are using all of my bird feeders mounted around the perimeter of the farm. They venture out into the field often singing and performing their acrobatic moves while gathering nesting materials.
We have two species of woodpeckers: the Sapsuckers stay in the trees favoring the Maples and Birch trees for their soft wood and prizes inside. Unfortunately, they are killing these trees but such is the circle of life I suppose. The Northern Flicker, however, prefers to dig for grubs in our lawn and is a more terrestrial woodpecker.
Three varieties of hawks circle above the farm hunting from my chicken flock. The Red Tailed Hawk, Red Shoulder Hawk and a Swift are regulars and announce their presence with their highly recognizable cry. Our dog, Luna, does a fantastic job alerting me to them and together we have averted all but one from grabbing one of our plump egg laying hens.
The beautiful Tanager makes it’s presence this time of year, but stays aloof and avoids being out in the open, taking cover in the forest canopy. Sometimes I just see a streak of yellow to know it’s here.
Of course the crows still make a mess in the compost pile but they are part of our ecosystem too.
This week I was able to identify a new bird too. A Wilson’s Warbler - more commonly seed on the coastline. These lively warblers nest and forage for insects in tall, dense shrub growth, understory, or riparian thickets. Welcome Wilson’s Warbler!
Last week we also spotted a Blue Heron in our pond eating frogs. They don’t come inland often but the river is only two miles away. I suppose it has found a personal haven from which to feast.
At night I hear the whoo whoo’s of the owls and have even found a Great Horned Owl standing proudly in the front yard one evening.
I am so blessed to share this space with so many diverse species of birds who all play a part in our pest control system, eating insects and bringing so much joy to the farm.
Now….which one is waking me up at 5:00 am?