Saturday, January 06, 2007

Soggy Seeds, Flighty Birds

48.3 degrees this morning at Vermont Flower Farm. The fog has been with us since about 9 last night when the temperature dropped from another record setting high. Near sixties in early January is certainly not close to the below-zero temperatures we often see from late December into early January.

As I look out the office window, the rain has quieted things and save for raindrops, everything has stopped. The birds and animals of the fields and forests hunkered down last night, knowing that low pressure and bad weather were upon them. The platform bird feeder is actually tipping south, rearranged a couple nights ago by a doe deer looking to nibble the last of the cracked corn I leave for the blue jays. It matters not, as the rain has been so heavy all night that the corn, sunflower and millet seed is soggy now.

Many gardeners enjoy birds and incorporate feeders and bird friendly plants into their gardens. I've mentioned before that I leave the wild mullein to grow close to where I place the feeders because the small birds like those seeds. We also plant lots of rudbeckias and coneflowers to provide selections to our bird buffet. That way we have swaths of great color during the summer and from late fall through spring we can enjoy bird visitors.

Internet resources, TV and radio shows about birds are plentiful and make it easy to work into a really interesting hobby. At some point I'll write some thoughts about birds and gardens but in the interim try for the Vermont Audubon Society, for the Northeast Kingdom Audubon Society (8 Audubon chapters around Vermont), and for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. If you have elementary school age children, track down the VINS ELF Program. Environmental Learning for the Future is a program you and your kids will really enjoy.

Finally, one of my favorite local resources appears every Tuesday in the Caledonian Record newspaper. This is an old newspaper from St Johnsbury Vermont and it's still one of the best. Science and Nature is one section followed by Education. As example, this week's paper includes an article entitled Birding In A Winter Wonderland. It's a regular in the Bird Notes section that the NEK Audubon Society does. The same section also includes The Night Sky Observer sponsored by the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium. Between the two sections you can bring the heavens to the earth with a quick study specific to whats happening that week. The weather may be challenging this year but the world outside your back door places you just steps away from some interesting lessons.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where 5 Evening Grosbeaks just appeared at the feeder, satisfied with soggy seeds for breakfast.

Best gardening wishes;

George Africa

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your writing is very pleasant, it has a very tranquil tone. I guess it comes out in those of us that blog about our own gardens and what we get from the process. Those coneflowers are beautiful. I work at Park Seed in customer service and we sell lots of Cone Flower Seed. People seem to really love echinaceas almost as much as the birds.