Summer Visitors

The Button Box

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September and Labor Day are behind us and the fair is over for another year. It will be a long time before our summer visitors arrive to sing in our yard and show us their beautiful colors again.

The wrens left in August to head south with their hoard of babies. Each pair will have three hatches each summer, as many as 9 babies each hatch, while they are here. This year we had 3 pair in the yard. One pair was in the front and two pair in the back.

Usually there is only a pair in front and one in the back but they somehow worked it out this year to share the back yard and there were two pair in the back. There was a lot of singing in the back, to declare their territory, which was fine with me; I love the little male’s song.

Mid August, when the second hatch of babies was ready for a long flight, the male took the first and second batch out of the yard. The female was feeding the third batch of babies and in two weeks they would be out in the yard to feed.

The male takes the first two hatches, usually around 18 babies and heads south with them. Then we no longer hear his song in the yard. They just leave and one day you realize that you don’t hear him anymore. This allows the female to have more food in the yard for their 3rd hatch of young.

As soon as the last hatch is ready to fly south, she leaves around fair week. If the cats that are turned loose at night didn’t kill most of the babies the 3 pairs probably raised 27 babies per pair or 81 young in our yard this year.

The babies usually stay in the bushes for a few weeks, because they are not accomplished flyers for awhile. This makes them an easy target for the cats every night in our addition, which has a leash law that applies even to cats, but is generally ignored by cat owners.

So our little mouth from the south, 3 males this year, that sing to proclaim their territory and sing to their mate when she is in the house nesting is gone for another 8 months. I promise myself every year that I am going to record them singing but failed to do it again so it will be 8 months before I hear their song and know that spring has arrived again.

Our other summer visitors I will miss are the hummingbirds. This year there was a pair in the back yard and one in the front yard. We have a feeder out for them and one for the Orioles in both the front and the back yards.

The hummingbirds have most definitely not learned to share so only one pair per feeder. But they do not stand back from eating out of the Oriole feeder when they get a chance. The hummer in the front sits on a small branch over the feeder to guard it.

The one in the back usually sits real close to the feeder on the patio so he can protect it. Most of the time he is on the tomato cage in a pot on the patio only a few feet away from the feeder. We have a little swing for him that is attached to the cage on a tall wire and then hangs above the cage. He likes the swing for guard duty.

By late summer he had convinced most, but not all of the other hummers that are not his family, to leave his feeder alone but then he had to fight off the honey bees. I have no idea where a hive is around Blue Spruce but they are a real nightmare for the hummers to deal with and they are not a welcome summer guest.

The bees swarm the feeders in the back yard and the birds we put them out for had trouble using their feeders. The last few days they were here the hummers, both male and female worked to keep the bees at bay. The female tried to stab them when they came near the feeder. Hopefully she took care of a few of them without getting stung; I root for them to kill the bees but it is a battle they can’t win because they are outnumbered.

My task this winter is to find feeders the bees can’t eat out of and aren’t attracted to. I have read about some and now to find them and hopefully stop the bee invasion next year.

It seems like a long time until our summer friends come back to our yard and I will be anxiously watching and listening for their arrival. To Contact Sandy: [email protected]

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