Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Return of the Bird Song in the Field

I was taking my daily walk out to the fields today, It was a little cooler today than it has been. The sky pretty overcast, letting us know that at any moment it could pour down and delay some of this planting we had set on for today. I love to close my eyes as I am walking and just listen. The birds here are amazing. There are so many sweet songs that go on further than my hearing will allow me to take in. We have quite a collection of so many kinds of birds, and the melody change walking from the woods to out in the fields is like changing the channel on the radio. The fields are so full of killdeers and red-winged blackbirds right now. The song of these two alone would satisfy me fully. The red-winged black bird males love our nature field, all of the nice tall slender left over stalks from last years wildflowers make excellent standing grounds for them to perch their amazing bodies and blast out their impressive song to all of the ladies around.

The killdeer have become quite fond of our mounded lavender rows. Their little legs seem to get much more running and exercise than most birds. If you have never seen a mother bird put on the most extravagant display of distraction, you have not been close to a killdeer nest! Last year was the first time I experienced this. It was early spring and I was checking out the winter ice damage in the rows. After hearing several displays of a racket coming from a nearby bird, I was so alarmed to see that this one seemed to be severely injured. It flapped around horribly on the ground, one wing spread out and curved. “Aw! poor bird” I was already thinking of placed I could call that surely would know how to save this birds wing. I turned towards it, changed my direction and up up and away it went. Good as new. That mamma sure did distract me from the direction I was heading....straight towards its nest it had decided to make in the middle of a half dead lavender plant. That is a smart bird! Also one of my favorite to listen to may I add. Their tweeting repetitive sound, their white ringed necks, and there little slender legs make you feel like you are on the sandy ocean shore listening to a bird that would be nested in a rocky outcrop by the edge of the ocean water.

As I walked down the driveway this year I saw the same marvelous display, although I was not being tricked this time. The Earthship has now become a wonderful nesting community for them, and I am very happy to open up an apartment community for these beautiful creatures anytime.

The barn swallows have not yet returned this year. I reluctantly decided removing the mud packed nests in the barn from last year was the only direction I could go with them. Not much further in the season in 2007 they had chased out all of the red-winged black birds, killdeer, mourning doves, and any other flying creature around. Although I have a childlike passion for birds, these mean little bullies are no longer welcome on this harmonious farm. Even if they do return I believe our killdeer population has definitely outnumbered what they used to be and maybe they could work something out.

My next objective here is to help the little traveling hummingbirds find the acre of lavender yummyness. They have returned like they do every year to the trusty feeders we have in the woods. Although lavender is said to be a favorite of hummingbirds, I have come to the conclusion that since we have no blooms early season when the scouts are around, they are missing what is there for them the rest of the year. I had wanted to get the feeders closer to the field for them, but may have missed my early season opportunity for that. Hopefully with the helpful watch of visitors to our farm this year we will see that they have discovered it on their own! I’m excited to see if we gain these tiny marvels to the fields as well.

The simplicity of the birds, and the way they bring so much joy into every day field work is such a simple blessing that could easily be overlooked if there was not so much work to do out there! No matter how much rush, or business, or list of things I am not sure how to accomplish before the next day is in my head, soaking in the sweet songs of the birds instantly melts it all away. So with the bucketful of nightcrawlers in the kitchen and the luminous moon peaking through the cloudy sky, Its time to get some rest, and look forward to what will come as the season moves on.

Blog by "Kym Prell"