It’s been a crazy-busy weekend! Our northern Illinois spring has been rather winter-like. But the days are getting longer and I know one day the sun will shine, it will be warm, and dandelions will dot the landscape overnight.
Saturday, April 13
It was winter-like with snow swirling as I took my new bluebird friend, Ken, for a tour of my bluebird monitor route on Saturday morning. Ken is a new monitor in our forest preserve district natural resources volunteer group and he’ll be taking the second route I had for the last two years. Ken seems like a more experienced birder than I, but since he was unable to attend the annual data analysis and training session in February, he didn’t know much about our monitoring program. We walked the route and Ken practiced the proper way to approach and open a wild bird nest box. We went over data collection and reporting. We rummaged through the gear in my backpack … flashlight, auto mechanic mirror, paint scraper, deodorant soap, eco-friendly household cleaner, weak bleach solution, brushes, plastic gloves, silicon spray, old towel to wipe silicon, duct tape, scissors, old plastic grocery bag, volunteer parking permit tags. We didn’t spy any bluebirds but we saw some Sapsuckers and some White Breasted Nuthatches playing tag in the forest. It was fun to see Ken’s excitement about the experiences he’s likely to encounter. Later that day he emailed me about going out to his route to prepare the boxes for the season.
I checked my chickadee nest box as I have been every weekend since I put it up in my yard on Valentine’s Day. It seems as if some of those birch bark chips have been removed. It’s still too cold for nesting, but time is moving on and I have not yet spied those Black Capped Chickadees at the box! I wonder if Lucy and Ricky will be back this year.
Sunday, April 14
The day dawned cold, windy and gray. But the weather man was right. Later on the sun came out, the sky was blue and it was fairly warm. I went about filling bird feeders including my humming bird feeder for the first time this season. Those hummers are still showing far to the south on the hummingbird migration map. Still down in Central Illinois. But as I always do, I put up the feeder in mid-April which is about when, on average, they show up in my part of the world.
While tending to my bird feeders, what did I spy? A chickadee pair yonder in the pine tree taking turns flitting in and out of the nest box! OMG! Are Lucy and Ricky back? I grabbed my camera and zoomed in to see what I could see. No! It’s not Ricky and Lucy. It’s. It’s. Why, look! It’s Ralph and Alice! I got a shot of Ralph waiting patiently for Alice to exit before he took his turn in the box.
Bluebirds, Hummingbirds, and Chickadees! Just another typical spring weekend.