Nature Notes

Nature Notes

Nature Notes

Fall arrived on the 22nd by the calendar, and for sure last night, with plunging temperatures and a light frost. It’s always difficult to make the decision about covering flowers and vegetables. So often we get one or two cold nights, but then the temperatures warm up again for several days or even weeks. That makes it worthwhile to pull out all the old blankets and sheets. On the other hand, if it stays cold for several days, then it is time to clean up the garden and be done for the year. Of course that also means having piles of tomatoes and grapes and sweet potatoes cluttering up the kitchen until we have time to use them.

All of our chickens are now gone, and sadly for the first time in many years, I have to buy eggs. I already look forward to next spring when we can start over with fluffy chicks. This time I think we will need to put up electric fencing to keep the critters away.

This fall has been a bonus year for birds. I have seen migrating birds in the yard that I have not seen here before – or not for a few years. Although we usually get warblers during the spring migration, we tend to see fewer in the fall. There were two yellow-bellied flycatchers and blue-headed vireos yesterday. I have also seen hawks soaring so high that it is difficult to see them without binoculars. The first white-throated sparrows showed up at the feeders today just as I noticed that most of the song sparrows are gone.

A reader asked me about my feeders and bears. We do have bears off and on through the year except December through March. When I didn’t put out food, I didn’t see many birds as there is abundant natural food here. I decided to put out a small amount of black oil sunflower seeds each morning. There is enough to encourage birds to visit but also to clean up by mid-afternoon. Ground-feeding birds, squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks clean up whatever falls from the platform. So far that seems to work, but with fall arriving and hungry bears roaming I may have to stop again for a while.

Enjoy the crisp evening air as you look overhead for the Milky Way and in the west northwest for Venus, our evening star. Enjoy your moments outside and let me know what you are experiencing. Feel free to contact me at 802-447-7433 or cockatielvt@yahoo.com.

– Bonnie Dundas.

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