Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cornus florida: Gotta Love It!

I am really fortunate.

The variety of birds I just witnessed coming to the berries of one of our flowering dogwood  trees (Cornus florida)  and the feelings they inspired make me realize how happy I am living here on this property with the man I love...and surrounded by the beauty of nature.  It renews my desire to make this a place of natural beauty that is attractive not only to us, but attracts wildlife that are also things of beauty.

After hearing the call of the pileated woodpecker again, I grabbed the camera and got a shot right before it flew off to the nearest telephone pole.  Chickadees and a titmouse caught my attention (although these were eating the sunflower seeds I'd put out).  Before I realized what I was seeing, a male bluebird arrived to get his share of the berries--it wasn't until I looked at the photos that I realized there were two of males.  Finally, a robin arrived to join the feast.  I have to wonder what I miss when not looking out the window.


Although we've added at least a dozen more dogwoods to the property, this makes me want to add even more--why not?  We have the room.  They will make great additions to the woodlands edge where I'd already planned to add some.  The one on which the birds are perched was planted by a previous owner--it is pink, although I prefer the white; once the petals fade, I can't tell the difference, and neither can the birds.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Honking Surprise

I was about to get into the car (on my way to collect more leaves--more on that later), when I heard an unfamiliar bird call.   The word that comes to mind to describe it is almost a honk...a nasally honk?  So, I look up, and I'm shocked to see what I believe was a pileated woodpecker!  Up until now I think I've only spotted one once, while I was walking in the woods in State College--this is a first for our yard!  I'm happy to document an increase in biodiversity!

The beautiful bird was attracted to the berries of the flowering dogwood--all of the dogwoods I know have flowers, but this one the most spectacular--Cornus florida.  I attempted to take a photo of it with my cellphone...which is not even worth posting here.  I partially closed the car door, walked slowly around the car, and the long way around to the front door.  Upon noticing me, it flew off to a nearby tree.  Grabbing the camera, I searched the surrounding area for it, but it had flown off, so I began my post, camera close at hand.  Sure enough, I heard the now familiar call, went to the window and tried to focus on my surprise visitor...only to be shocked that the call of a blue jay scared it off!  Still hopeful, I returned to continue to compose this post.  Luckily for me, it returned again--I guess those berries are as tempting as they are nutritious (from what I've read--and nutritious to birds, NOT humans!).  This time, I was able to get a picture to document my sighting...and now, with no more ado, I'll share it with you:

...Now, I did close the car door halfway through composing this, so I'm hoping I didn't drain the battery and can head out for more of those bags of leaves (which I've yet to post about).