Bird Life in the Neighborhood

by Halle O’Falvey

I’m sitting outside in my yard a lot more these days. I’m noticing my backyard birds. They are constant. They live here. I’m the one who likes to jump in my car and go somewhere to look for birds, especially when migrants arrive; for the adventure. Instead, this spring, I’m compelled to sit in my yard. I have a lot of birds, considering I leveled most of my backyard landscape in a vain attempt to reduce water in my basement. On the other hand, it is pretty exciting to have a clean slate to work with now.

I do hear the high pitched, dull hummm of cars on I-35E more than ever though. It could be a lot louder but since the speed LIMIT is only 45 mph, it is more of a hummm. Interstate-Highway-35, is 1,555 miles long, it travels north to south; Duluth, MN to Laredo, TX. During the Dwight. D. Eisenhower Administration, in 1956, The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was enacted. Our four-mile neighborhood stretch of I-35E was the last to be constructed and was granted a lower speed and a weight restriction, after years of community action — see publishing.rchs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/RCHS_Winter2014_Milton.pdf.

I’ve had a pair of chickadees hollow out a downy woodpecker’s hole in the bonsaied stump of the willow tree, to lay their eggs. The males mating display is a wonder. They are such tiny birds. I, also have crows with an active nest on the boulevard. Robins are calling me out for worms, I’m like, “Ya, I got this robin,” and turn on the hose to bring up the worms. Then they hop over for a wiggly one. A pair of northern cardinals like the spruce tree a lot. The elderberry bush and the bridal view is all I have for height and cover in the backyard. The hummingbirds really like the creeping Charlie, the dandelions, the Canada violets and the wild purple violets. So don’t pull them up anymore. They are the early pollinators.

A little wren showed up, so the chattering is here!!! He was building a nest in the neighbor’s tree across the alley. The males do build several nests for the female to choose from. The chimney swifts returned to their summer residence over at Global Arts Plus on Osceola. They fly overhead as they come into roost for the night after flying all day long.

And then just as I was going to come in for the night, the night hawk squawked. It is one of my favorite birds. It means summer is near. It means mosquitos are active. It means a nighttime serenade. Earlier, my son Myles and I took a walk down to Crosby Farm and found a patch of mosquitos off the beaten track.

What is missing this year is the red-winged blackbird that had its annual two-week layover on our block. The males come two weeks earlier than the females to scope out a nest. I sure miss his trilling. Best to be birding these days. halleofalvey@gmail.com.

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