Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring, birds putting it altogether.

Hi from Minneapolis, Minnesota. After a long mostly brown and warm winter. Getting some much needed moisture in the form of rain, everything is greening up nicely. The birds are building their nests the frozen ground is long gone and it's only mid-March. This is happening way too early, 95% of the time here we still have snow on the ground until mid-April; it's happened before if my memories servers but not happened in my life time. Of course I could be wrong that's a given! Planting season here normally starts after Mother’s day in May as well as 60+ degree high temperatures and low temperatures in the 40's. Record highs and lows are breaking or shattered, it happening all over the mid-central U.S. The southern states saw more snow and cold then we did, it seems to me that we had more rain than snow this winter, didn’t use the snow blower once. After last winter didn’t mind that one bit, this time last year I still had snow piles 8 feet tall. What does this all mean heck if I know! Maybe Mother Nature felt sorry for us after last year, however I doubt it! Just hopping we don’t have another summer of being stuck in the HOUSE like last summer! So where am I going with this nowhere, knowing I can’t plant my garden just yet because, we could have another hard freeze, been there done that more than once even if the trees are all leafing out, not willing to risk all that hard work!
Many of the summer birds are already back at my feeders, even had a pair of European Starling shooed them off! A very aggressive and not a native bird still in its winter colors with white speckles, known for displacing, woodpeckers and other cavity-nesting birds by destroying eggs or young. Not a nice neighbor at all to have around and very loud! Okay I admit it; I’m not going to let them take over my birdfeeder so no other kinds of birds would come if I did.
So yes I lied before because I didn't think two kinds of birds’ lived in the city. Now that both have come to my feeders, I must draw a line for who is welcome at my birdfeeders it’s the European Starling and the Brown-headed Cowbird is the only parasitic bird in Minnesota. They can and have decimated song bird populations in some areas, of Minnesota and Wisconsin because of laying eggs in host birds’ nests, leaving others to raise its young. Many song birds’ don’t reject the eggs they incubate and raise them to the exclusion of their own. Cow-bird young are twice the size of the song birds and warblers when attempting to raise more than 2, the host birds will die trying to feed them. Wiping out a generation or two of host birds’, needless to say I am not a fan. Having squirrels does help to keep Cow-birds away. If not the only way I know of to keep them away is to stop using birdfeeders altogether. When I lived in Wisconsin I had to do that, not just because of Cow-birds, a bear had come twice bending the shepherd hook, to the ground to eat the birdseed. The front door was about 15 feet away, sorry but that was way too close for me. The Brown headed Cow-bird is a member of the blackbird family. Of approximately 750 species of parasitic birds worldwide. It’s the only one found in Minnesota and Wisconsin. At one time cowbirds followed bison to feed on insects attracted to the animals.      

2 comments:

Travelogue for the Universe said...

Such weird weather huh? Enjoy the nice while we have it! Have grown to love the starlings, they are an acquired love for me. Have a great day, mary

Mary K. Mennenga said...

Mary, I'm enjoying it, know it will change we've been 15-25 degrees above normal all month. Starling are wonderful to look at, they seem much more aggressive here in the city. Nice to know they are loved, have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by. mkm