Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Broody Duck and Other's Wild Nature

This morning when I went out to release the five Indian Runner ducks
from their house and to gather eggs,
this arrangement of eggs in one of the nesting boxes
is what greeted when I lifted the lid on the side of the duckhouse.

One of the Tootsie Rolls, the smallest in size, has been broody for the past couple of months. She often arranges the 2 wooden eggs and the eggs laid by herself and her sisters in one of the nesting boxes. She only sits on the eggs while in the duckhouse and spends her days foraging with her sisters. Indian Runner ducks are not known for their ability to sit on eggs until they have hatched. Although, there was one in a past flock who did so but unfortunately outside of the duckhouse, so just as the first eggs were almost finished their incubation, a night time marauder had her for a meal. 

Welcoming and accepting the creatures and their life cycle as an integral part of MuRefuge and her vibrant web is sometimes trying, as with the gophers mentioned in a previous post. However, the rewards of doing so offers such an array of "wild nature" behaviors which adds  to the wholeness of the landscape of which we are the present stewards.

For months now we have had a male Western Bluebird pecking at the windows that reflect his image. At first I thought he was protecting his family’s nest. However, the behavior has continued long after the eggs have hatched and his offspring have fledged. A few evenings past while lounging in the bath and looking out the window, I could see sitting in the bare branches of the dead curly willow Mom and Pop and two beautiful youngsters. In the dead curly willow just to the East of our East most fence is one of the many bluebird boxes Dwight has built and installed. This particular box must be this bird family’s home. Many Bluebirds used to nest in the many apple trees to our South which were all cut down a few years after we began putting down roots here. Given the loss of old trees in which to nest, we find each year the bluebird boxes are often used by these gorgeous birds.

Native Twinberry Honeysuckle ((Lonicera involucrata).
Not surprising a family of Bluebirds has claimed MuRefuge as
their territory with the abundance of food for their taking.
We have watched Mom and/or Pop feeding one berry at a time to their offspring.
As some of you have read in previous posts, bird tape has been installed on most of the windows to decrease bird collisions. The two windows where the male Bluebird first pecked, the windows were recently reinforced with additional bird tape which over the few weeks has minimized his pecking at his reflection since there is little window pane for him to see himself in. Alas, he has moved to other windows which have a bit more glass for his reflection to be seen. Wild territorial behavior in the winged who has claimed MuRefuge as his territory is a wonder to behold.

Flowering native Wild Honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula)
which also has berries for the birds to eat.
With the El Nino rains of Spring passed the native bushes and vines have put on a stunning display of flowers this year. Natives to this area seem to be familiar with years of drought and years of an abundance of rain. With the former, plants of all sizes seem to sequester their energy, providing an abundance of seeds for reproduction/survival of their species. With the recent Spring rains the flowers on the perennial bushes, vines and trees have been exceptionally spectacular this Spring, and now the cycle turns to Summer.

The rising sun shining on flowering Cream Bush, aka Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor),
which provides nectar for native pollinators.

As we observe Wild Nature all around us during the turning of season, may we each 

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