By the time I got back outside, they were flying around the gourds again. One of them took off shortly after I got back outside, but there were still two flying around and investigating the gourds.
Purple martins are such a challenge. They're the only bird in the eastern U.S. that depends entirely on human-provided housing. (In the western U.S. they will live in tree cavities and under highway overpasses, but that's a whole 'nother story.) They don't seem to be too fussy about their housing, so it can be wood, plastic, metal, or natural gourds. Many of the successful martin landlords I know use the wood or aluminum T-14 houses. I decided to go with gourds because they were less expensive, it was less likely that sparrows would try to nest in them, and I just like the look of gourds. I have 6 natural gourds, and 6 of the plastic super gourds. In all previous years that martins have lived in my gourds, they always preferred the natural gourds.
These two martins flew around for quite a while and hung on the gourds, but never went inside. I was just whining to Rick after work about how I probably wouldn't get any martins this year, and then these guys showed up after supper. Hopefully now that there were multiple birds looking at the gourds, they will come back and decide to stay and set up housekeeping within the week.
Because it's been so warm, I'm watering my flowers in pots every day and this evening I decided I'd better water my flower and vegetable gardens also. When I was getting the hose out to water the butterfly garden by the house, a big bunny dashed out through the little fence and I noticed a little brown blur run along the back of the flower garden. A baby bunny? I wondered to myself. I looked around under the flowers, but couldn't see anything. I went ahead and started watering and when I got down to the end, sure enough, there was a baby bunny that I must have already watered because he was sitting along the edge of the garden border and looked a little damp.
After I dragged the hose to the vegetable garden and got the sprinkler set up, I had to come back and adjust the water flow and there was another little bunny trying to hide in the grass. I went and got Rick and he picked this little guy up for a picture. Then we delivered him back to the flower garden next to his sibling.
When I finally went to turn the sprinkler off, I came around the house and Mama Bunny dashed out of the flowers again. I quickly looked to where she had come from and saw four little bunnies squirming around. They must have been nursing or napping next to her, because they seemed pretty disoriented from having her run away so quickly. I know they're destructive, but they're just so darn cute. We'll have to make sure the dogs don't get over there and disturb them. Daisy thinks bunnies are an excellent snack and this time of year I really have to keep an eye on her.