As I was sitting having breakfast in the kitchen this morning, I watched the bluebirds coming in with a steady stream of insects to feed their nestlings. The rain was coming down in buckets, but it didn't stop any of the birds from feeding hungry babies. I snuck out several hours later when there was a break in the rain and was able to get this shot of Madame and Monsieur, both with tiny treats. Monsieur was on a slightly different focal plane so he's a tad fuzzy, unfortunately. I'll put a shot of him in Extra so you can see the legs of his prey hanging out of his beak.
I thought this would also be a good opportunity to remind people that pesticides do a world of harm to beautiful creatures like these bluebirds. In the summer months, their diet is almost exclusive insects and insects that have been ingesting insecticides as basically little poison capsules to these birds. Warblers, wrens, bluebirds, orioles and many other bird species unwittingly feed poisoned insects to nestlings - and you can imagine the results. It would be like if we slowly fed little bits of rat poison to human children.
We stopped using pesticides in our yard/garden a number of years ago. It took several years for the natural balance to return but now we benefit from birds like these as well as a host of both predator and prey insects. Each keeps the other in check. And I have the satisfaction of knowing, when I see the bluebirds and wrens taking insects to their babies that I'm contributing to their health, not harming them. So I'd ask that, if you currently use pesticides, please reconsider. Anything you use to kill grasshoppers, leaf beetles and assassin bugs also kills valuable pollinators like bees and butterflies. Not to mention what it does to birds like these beautiful eastern bluebirds. Okay, climbing off my soapbox now.
When I took the suet feeders out this morning, I was mobbed by six frantic downy woodpeckers. For the briefest of moments, I thought one was going to land on my head, so anxious were they for the morning treat. After they'd all filled their beaks and headed into the woods to feed nestlings, things calmed down a bit. It's been a steady stream of woodpeckers (3 species), blue jays, titmice, blackbirds, grackles, nuthatches, cardinals and chipmunks at the feeders today.
Good visit with MIL this morning. She was in pretty good spirits although a little confused about where she was. It's always surprising how transient her memory is from minute to minute. As has become the norm, I was greeted warmly by the core group of ladies in the community room - they've come to feel like friends to me over these past months. I think MIL is probably the only person who has daily visitors so I always try to greet everyone and have a few words with them while I'm there. I'm curious to know more about them, but also hesitant to pry ...
Very sad news from my parents last night. A dear long-time friend of their passed away at age 80 yesterday morning. She'd been in failing health, so I don't think it was a surprise, but it is still very sad. She and her husband used to travel to Mexico with my parents every year, both couples in their RV's; and they've all known each other for years. When I talked to Mom last night, I wanted so badly to climb through the phone and just give her and dad big hugs. So, do me a favor and just hug someone today, okay?