The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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7 PM Central Daylight Savings Time
NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Birds and Squirrels - New Show Every Hour, Every Day

Norma Boeckler's Bluebird

I set up some bird baths and feeders a distance away from the bedroom window, then moved everything in.

A White Profusion Butterfly Bush has grown at least 8 feet tall and serves as a waiting room for birds, stairs and escape for squirrels. Next to the bush is a large Pokeweed, which is ready to bear fruit for the birds. Together they screen and shade the window.

Below is a children's swimming pool kept clean and full of water for all animals. I cut the sides down to make it easier for all creatures to use. Also, birds are intimidated by deep water but love to bathe in shallow pools. I tried using rocks and deeper water, but that increased the surface area to clean of algae and dirt.

Four bird feeders, sheltered by the eaves, close to the window, keep the area busy:

  1. The platform feeder is perforated and filled with sunflower seeds each day.
  2. The hanging baskets are filled with suet during the cooler seasons, not in summer when they melt away.
  3. The squirrel-proof (sic) feeder has finch seed, so only the finch family and sparrows feed from it.
  4. The Lowe's hanging feeder holds a lot of sunflower seeds and its multi-sided design allows five birds to eat at once.

I let Sassy in from the backyard, and there on the Yellow Coneflower was a Goldfinch eating the seeds formed by the flower. The bird was unfazed by our activity, so I went back to watch more feeding. He finished with one flower, looked up, and hopped onto the next. I hope he plants a few seeds in my yard. I bought that plant for beneficial insects and got a bonus.

This Bella Vista super-squirrel owned my squirrel-proof (sic) feeder,
using the mechanism to shake seed into his greedy mouth.


The Daily Bird and Squirrel Show
Naturally, the birds were shy about the new contraptions when the feeders were set up near our window. The Jackson EZ Bird-Swing also had almost no activity.

Now we have a show every day, almost all day. The juvenile squirrels love to squat on the platform and bat away birds that threaten them. Meanwhile birds line up on the Butterfly Bush and hop over to the finch feeder or the hanging sunflower feeder.

Sometimes I open and shut the sliding glass window to get the squirrels away, But they know that opening the window is no threat. They just flinch and keep eating. Popping it shut later can turn two squirrels into flying squirrels in a second. Even then, they prepare to come back in quickly. 

I love to see a baby squirrel twitching and sniffing as he comes up to the window, after crawling up the side of the house. The tail moves back and forth in little darting motions, to show he is ready to eat but also ready to flee.

Believe it or not, the squirrels do not eat all the platform food. When that feeder is clear, Mourning Doves will sit and sift through the seeds to find some for themselves. Sometimes they land close to menace the squirrels away. That makes the squirrel reach out to warn the bird away. 

Dove fluttering - "Away! Away!"
Squirrel - "I will push you out of the air with my paw!"

Cardinals are the shyest birds, so I love seeing Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal eating sunflower seed from the hanging feeder each day. Lately I learned they also love Crepe Myrtle seeds, so I am letting most of the flowers go to seed for them. That also explains why they nest in the Crepe Myrtle. It is like sleeping in the linens department of a Walmart Supercenter. Hungry? Dinner's a few inches away.

Unlike many bird-lovers, I enjoy having flocks of Starlings - and their cousins, the Grackles - in my yard. As relatives to the Crows, they flock together, eat like teenagers, and remove tons of pests, including grubs like Japanese Beetles

Many Plants and Bushes Can Replace Acres of Yawn-Lawn
As I learned from the Coneflower, one plant by itself can appeal to beneficial insects and beautiful birds. Each creature of God has its own time to flourish and set up for the next year, by forming a brood locally or - for some birds - heading South.

In the Upper Peninsula, the poor people go to Minnesota for the winter.

Grass makes a convenient pathway between gardens, where everything contributes to a vibrant yard filled with birds and insects.

The Elderberry plants I began - for the first time, from Almost Eden - are now bowed down with black berries. They attracted insects at first and served as base for a lot of beneficial activity. Now they will feed birds into the cold season.

Beautyberries are edible only for birds, and they form very late. They are the berries useful late in the year, when everything else has stopped fruiting. Right now I only see flowers on the Beautyberries.



Leave It Trashy Until Early Spring
Gardeners want to mow everything down and clean up the yard for winter - wrong! The dead plants are havens for beneficial insects and wild bees. A dead stalk is a cozy chamber for insects, which are 99% beneficial.  Flowers gone to seed are bird-food - and that includes weed seeds. How else have some weeds spread so well?

God mulches all his plants, so we should too. I look at leaves as something to add to the yard, not as trash to haul away. I used 60 bags of leaves from my hard-working neighbors last year, and where are they? Some are carpeting the Wild Garden, but most have rotted into the soil, converted by earthworms and mites, slugs and other creatures.

If insects like the tiny flowers,
Hummingbirds are likely to enjoy them too.