Sunday, February 2, 2014

Little by little

I haven't been outside enough the past few days to personally report on any increasing signs of Spring. The recent issue of my local Audubon chapter's newsletter notes that keeping the feeders full in really cold weather lets birds conserve energy searching for food and use it to stay warm. It also suggests picking native shrubs for Spring planting that can improve habitat (food,cover and nest sites for nesting birds). Seems reasonable to me. In the Winter, our feeders attract chickadees, goldfinches, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, flickers, only occasional blue jays, cardinals and a few others.

mixed birds at feeders
mixed birds at feeders   © harrington

Based on recent reports, including one from a UMN biologist, if we hope to keep monarch butterflies around, it seems we better start replanting roadsides and other areas with milkweed. I know I'm not the only one that remembers reading Silent Spring, but sometimes I wonder. There's a number of local (Minnesota) milkweed seed suppliers. If you follow the link, you won't even have to spend time wondering where on earth you'd find such a thing as milkweed seeds. I'm coming more and more to see the world as a version of the original Star Wars, with each of us being a potential Jedi knight having to choose whether we support The Force or The Dark Side. The middle seems to be disappearing like the monarch butterflies. To be frank, I wouldn't care about nature so much if I didn't depend on her for fresh air, clean water and beauty in life. Last time I checked, none of those were being reliably delivered world-wide by corporations. Kay Ryan provides one side of the scales for nature. The other side always seems to be given the greater weight by our decision makers. Can a part be greater than a whole?

Thin

By Kay Ryan 

How anything   
is known   
is so thin—   
a skin of ice   
over a pond   
only birds might   
confidently walk   
upon. A bird's   
worth of weight   
or one bird-weight   
of Wordsworth.

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