Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Martins & Bunnies

I got done with supper and still didn't have any ideas for a posting today, so I did a little internet surfing and then took the dogs out for a walk around the yard. We had a high temp around 90 again today, and it had finally cooled off a little bit around 7:00 so the dogs could walk a little farther in the yard. While I was out walking them around, I thought I heard purple martins chirping. When I got closer to the house, I could see there were three sitting on the TV antenna. I rushed the dogs in the house and ran upstairs to get my camera.

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.


Jayne said...

Yea! I'll bet you'll have Martins setting up house before long! Sweet, sweet bunnies. :c)

Mary said...

They are coming! Their apartments are vacant and clean! Isn't it wonderful when you think there's nothing to report and something happens? LOL!

Cute bunnies - oh, to hold one...

mon@rch said...

Those bunnies are cute but I just love seeing all those martins! Keep up the great work!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne & Tom,
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the martins. Maybe this will be the year a pair actually nests successfully and my colony begins.... They are the most amazing flyers.

Hi Mary,
Did you notice the time that I posted that blog? I was soooo tired today from staying up way past my bedtime to get the post finished.

Those bunnies didn't even squirm when we picked them up. Today they're gone (I hope their mom found a safer place to hide them).

Mary Carlson said...

Oh Ruth - how nice to discover a couple of new things. I've never seen martins (at least I don't think I have). It would be so nice if they would nest in your yard. And those bunnies - let's hope they are safe, and stay out of your veggie garden!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary C,
The veggie garden is all fenced in, so that's safe.

Purple martins are amazing. If you get a chance sometime this summer, there's a nesting colony in the highway overpass right in front of the California Railroad Museum in Sacramento. There was an article about it a couple years ago in my purple martin magazine and last year when we visited my brother, I saw the place. They fly up into the drip holes and nest inside the highway overpass.

LauraHinNJ said...

Kudos to you for leaving the little wild bunnies be!