Friday, May 9, 2014

Spring Drama


Spring in Virginia is often an affair with extremes; hot and cold, storms, new life and death, growth and decay. Gardeners know the pain and joy of spring; plants survived the winter and bloom in glory and plants that need to be replaced because they did not make it.

Spring is when many birds return to the garden, their songs and activity fill the air. Busy building nests and feeding their young, beginning the cycle again.

I have a small urban garden that usually has a number of birds nesting in the dense shrubbery. Over the years the yard has hosted nesting robins, mockingbirds, cardinals, and mourning doves. Other, smaller birds, may also be nesting in the garden - I just haven't observed them.

This year a bluejay joined the group - and that's where the drama has ramped up.

The robins rebuilt a nest they'd used last year, only to be ousted by the bluejays. So the robins rebuilt a nest one bush over. Every day the two pairs of birds defend their space. Last night when I came home I found a smashed small blue egg on the side porch, I don't know if this was part of the feud or some other sad little war that was fought elsewhere.

While planting lantana for the butterflies, I found an eggshell - evidence of a successful hatching. Life goes on, as it must.

Feathered visitors include gold finches, house finches, purple finches, house sparrows, song sparrows, cardinals, red-winged blackbird, yellow-bellied sapsucker (woodpecker), red-bellied woodpecker, pigeons, starlings, grackles, nuthatches, black-capped chickadees, mourning doves, Carolina wrens, house wrens, catbirds, eastern towhee, crows, juncos, robins, humming birds, and titmouse. Sadly, I've seen less and less butterflies, despite planting flowers and milkweed for them. Other garden visitors include possums, raccoons, and a resident mouse family. Cats too, but they're not welcome.

My garden renews itself every spring, and I am renewed with it.