Category Archives: Nature Notes

Wildlife sightings, and resources for further info.

Nature Notes–Evicting a Feathered Neighbor

tilt shift photo of two white bird eggs on a nest

Photo by Mauriciooliveira109 on Pexels.com

A pair of wrens set up housekeeping on our front porch. That didn’t surprise me because wrens, like American robins and Eastern Phoebes, don’t mind nesting near human activity, and they are opportunistic birds who use human paraphernalia to build nests in. (Once I left a open box of garbage bags on a workshop porch. Imagine the surprise I got when I went out to get a bag and a little brown wren was sitting in the box!) Unfortunately, this spring the wrens built a nest among the leaves and stems of my mother’s spiderwort plant.

My mother and I admired the wrens’ single-minded focus on building the nest. From the living room window we watched the birds make trips back and forth to add to the nest. I saw one wren marching up the sidewalk with a twig in its beak. Evidently the bird decided the twig wouldn’t work, because the bird tossed the twig aside and scoured the nearby grass and weeds for more suitable material.

As much as we admired the birds’ determination, however, my mother didn’t want to stand by and watch her houseplant be ruined. I remembered hearing that birds don’t like peppermint/spearmint scent, so I went to a nearby hardware store and bought some peppermint/spearmint scented mouse repellent. The repellent comes in small pouches, so it was handy for our purpose. I took each of the three hanging planters down and put a pouch in each one. When I took the spiderwort down, I found a 3″–5″ round, thick nest made up of twigs, grass, moss, and a feather or two among the stems and leaves, though fortunately, no eggs were in it. From the wrens’ point of view, it was the perfect homesite. From our point of view, it wasn’t.

Since putting the scented pouches in the planters, I haven’t heard the wrens’ loud calls coming from the porch nor have I seen fluttering wings or leaves among the spiderwort, so I think we accomplished our mission. We’ve been keeping an eye on the plants; so far, the scented additions to the planters hasn’t affected the health of the plants.

For more info. on spiderwort plants, (common names: Inchplant, Wandering Jew, or Wandering Willie), check out: https://www.thespruce.com>Gardening>Houseplants>Houseplant Basics or–https://www.gardeningknowhow.com>Houseplants>Wandering Jew plants.

For info. on the perky little wren, check out: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/House_Wren.

©P. Booher

 

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Friday Photos–Spring Flowers

Red Trillium

Trillium

Trillium grows in moist areas in woodlands. Around here it occurs in patches–where you see one, you see another close by. Sometimes the flowers are red; sometimes they are white. They brighten the otherwise green or brown surroundings.

daffodils-by-hill-in-front-of-house

Daffodils

I think of daffodils as “sunshine on a stem”. I brought some into the house to liven up a corner.

hyacinths-on-hill-in-back

Hyacinths all in a row

Purple Crocuses

Crocuses, a sure sign of spring

All photos by author.

If you’d like more info. on trilliums, check out:

https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/trillium_erectum.shtml

©P. Booher

 

 

 

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Nature Notes–Chicory–Blue, Beautiful and Tough

Chicory is a beautiful blue wild flower. This fragile-looking plant thrives in rough environments. Chicory grows alongside roads and in gravel driveways–places where I wouldn’t expect anything to grow, let alone anything so delicate looking. Chicory adds beauty and softens the rough places. Any time I see it I smile at this tenacious little flower which defies its harsh surroundings.

One day I brought a couple chicory plants into the house, thinking the light blue color would perfectly accent my blue vase.  I looked at the plants an hour or so later. Surprise! No longer standing tall the plants wilted pitifully in the vase.  Unlike the wild daisies I’ve picked before,  the chicory plants couldn’t handle the “cushy” indoor life. Their visual charm is strictly for the outdoors.

©P. Booher

Resources for pictures and more information: http://www.ediblewildfood.com/chicory.aspx

https://www.britannica.com/plant/chicory

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