A Quick Note from the Yard

I will miss the American Goldfinches that have faithfully visited my yard all winter and into the spring, especially as they quickly figured out and appreciated this seed feeder which I resurrected from the basement when I could no longer tolerate a squirrel taking over the feeder pole (which you can see is leaning over thanks to the squirrel). I even hoped to get a few photos this weekend of the goldfinches and the House Finches on this feeder because they make it look like one of those attractive advertisements for the feeder itself. But yesterday it became apparent that an avian flu is spreading, albeit among waterfowl and not detected in passerines yet, and we are advised to take down our feeders until May 31st unless otherwise notified.

My first thought was that I would save a lot of money on birdseed. My second thought was that this was the perfect opportunity to clean up and restore the soil underneath the feeder poles which has been poisoned by fallen seed. I have a mountain of compost to work into the soil. It will be more of a challenge to remove the fallen seed, as much as I have cleaned up I can’t get it all. As for that money I’m saving on birdseed, I have already invested it in some seed catchers that I can attach to the feeders when I put them back up.

Of course I quit feeding the squirrels too and they are apoplectic. But I managed to do this for several weeks last year before the inaugural Berwyn Historical Society Garden Walk, primarily to help get rats out of the yard, and nobody suffered terribly and everyone came back almost immediately the day I put feeders back out. So as bad as I feel about stiffing my friends, they will survive. In case you’re wondering, these photos were taken on April 10.

Beyond that, there are two lovely blooms in the backyard – the only flowers so far. I thought I had identified this plant but now I can’t remember what it is. It showed up by itself and keeps coming back, but it is not aggressive, so even if it’s not native I am happy to see it. If you recognize it, please let me know and I will try not to forget it.

And the other lovely surprise is what I thought was the beginnings of a Virginia Bluebell that I planted from a bare root last fall, on a hope and a prayer, after I had removed all the Hostas from the back of the house. I planted Jack in the Pulpit back there too but likely it won’t take. I am just curious to see what happens. I was just out in the yard and this turns out to be more of the same unidentified plant…

Beyond that, I have my work cut out for me. I am going to start trimming the stalks in the front yard this morning in between the raindrops and tomorrow after I recover from “leading” a bird walk at Thatcher Woods in River Forest that starts at 7:00 AM which means I have to get up by 4:30.

One more thought. I am waiting to hear the official word on hummingbird feeders. I haven’t put mine out yet but there are reports of hummingbirds showing up in the state. I hope I can at least put the hummer feeders out next week. After the Spring Music Festival…

4 thoughts on “A Quick Note from the Yard

  1. Hi Lisa
    Your blue flowers with white centers are Glory-of-the-Snow, Chionodoxa luciliae. One of my favorite spring bulbs!

    I’m steeling myself to take feeders down. Just had an oriole and a yellow rump here, though so I’m wavering dangerously.

    • Thanks, Ann! I thought it might be Glory of the Snow but wasn’t sure about the variety when I tried looking it up online. I just updated the post to remove the identity of Virginia Bluebell – it’s more Glory of the Snow.
      If I hadn’t gone through the whole scenario before I would be resisting taking my feeders down but now that I see this is an opportunity to try to reclaim my soil and feed more efficiently later, I will go with it at least for a while. I’ve never had an outbreak of any kind in my yard and rarely see a sick bird, like maybe one every two or three years…

    • Thanks for your comments, Bob. The yard birds are very annoyed with me, casting aspersions from their hiding spots in the neighbors’ hedges. I was out in the yard in the mud yesterday digging Lesser Celandine a/k/a Fig Buttercup out and sealing it up in a plastic bag because you can’t compost it and it’s likely not even safe in the yard waste either. I have quite a bit more to remove and the birds are no doubt frustrated by my inattention to them, but having this chance to reclaim the yard helps me feel better about taking the feeders down.

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