Sunday, December 8, 2013

For the Birds

 It's hard to believe that it has been so long since last posting here at Robin's Nesting Place. I think often about this poor neglected blog and I dearly miss the days when photography and blogging were priority.

Hopefully one day I will have the time and energy to get back to regular blogging.

 Last year, for a Lowe's Creative Ideas project, I did an outside Christmas tree for the birds. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do another one this winter.

I got the tree up and decorated right before the snow fell. I think this will be a new tradition for me. I love having a tree for the birds! It really doesn't take much to amuse me and make me happy!

Since I wasn't feeling particularly well, I declared it a vacation day and I literally spent the entire day at the kitchen table taking pictures of the birds!

It was just the medicine I needed and I feel so much more relaxed and less stressed. I mean, how could I not feel better after seeing this cute face!

The blue jays are quite photogenic! With their boisterous ways they are not intimidated by my presence at the door.

The cardinals are a different story. It will take them a while to warm up to the idea of coming so close to the house. They usually do, but for now they are content to eat from the feeders in a nearby tree.

The hawk is getting more brave too. This one came to the patio yesterday. Thankfully it didn't catch anything. The birds hiding in the patio tree got away just in time!

It is a beautiful creature, but I will feel terrible if it catches a bird in my tree, (unless it is a house sparrow)!

If I don't see you before Christmas, here is my wish for you!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saving Butterflies

When my children were young I started planting parsley so we could attract black swallowtail butterflies to our garden. We would gather the eggs and tiny caterpillars and bring them inside and watch the amazing metamorphosis. It never thrilled them as much as it did me! Even though the children are grown I still bring caterpillars inside to watch the amazing transformation from egg to butterfly. A new butterfly is a beautiful thing to behold.

This winter I grew my dill and parsley from seed in anticipation of this summer tradition.

Around the end of May, I was delighted to see the first butterfly of the season laying eggs on the dill. Every day I checked the parsley and dill to see if there were any caterpillars.

It wasn't long before the eggs hatched and the plants were covered with caterpillars! Since the butterfly host plants were on the patio, I decided to leave them alone this year and watch them outside.

One morning when I checked on the caterpillars, they were almost all gone. I carefully looked over the plants and discovered what had eaten them.
A baby praying mantis was feasting on my caterpillars! I was so disappointed!

Only four caterpillars were left. This one attached itself to the side of a planter so I left it outside. The other three were smaller so I brought them inside.

I thought this one would be safe outside but a few days later I noticed it too was gone. I saw a male cardinal searching for food around the parsley and dill, so I think this one was fed to baby cardinals.

For the last few summers I have not seen many butterflies, so losing all of these caterpillars caused me to do a bit of brainstorming to try to find a solution to save more of the butterflies. I found a large plastic container that I covered with a screen but the cat was way too interested in the moving caterpillars to keep them safe inside.

A few weeks ago while at Goodwill, I saw this rolling cart for $5.00. I thought maybe it had potential for my butterfly project.

 I removed the back and stapled fiberglass screen to it. I needed something removable for the front, so I used some of my husband's heavy duty velcro. It was sticky enough to attach firmly to the screen.

It is just a temporary solution until I can build or find something similar that will be more substantial and hold up to the weather. For now it works great and is exactly what I wanted!

I counted twenty-two caterpillars this morning! Hopefully they will all survive and the garden will be full of black swallowtails!

I'm keeping a close eye on the milkweed and if I see a monarch caterpillar, I'll place it in the enclosure too!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Teapot Birdhouse

One of my goals as a gardener has been to attract the birds to my small yard. I have one nesting box that that has been used by the black-capped chickadees for several years. Some years they raise two broods. The same box has been used by wrens.

I saw this morning that the black-capped chickadees are already busy building their nest in this box!  The robins are busy building their nest too! That must mean that spring is here for good this time!

I love getting inspiration from Pinterest! (You can follow me if you like!) I had admired some of the teapot birdhouses I had seen and wanted to make one of my own.

The teapot was a Goodwill find and the old drawer was purchased for a dollar or two at a local vendor mall! I thought the drawer would add a little more shelter for the birds.


I glued the teapot to the wood and also looped the twine through the opening just in case the teapot should come unglued.  I also glued the top of the teapot to the drawer as a landing perch. 
I need to hang it a little higher, turn it in a different direction, (for better weather protection), and secure it better for less movement. I hope it will have new occupants soon!

I've been felting wool items for projects and saved the loose fibers for the birds. Hopefully I'll have a few more nesting birds here at Robin's Nesting Place!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The State of the Garden Address

I cleaned up some in the yard Monday! It was still cold but at least the sun was shining! I was saddened by the condition of my flower beds and my yard. I lost so many plants last summer during our severe drought. My flower beds are for the most part a blank slate again.  I still can't tell if my Kousa dogwood survived. It doesn't look good. We used to have such a nice lawn, it is mostly weeds again. It is all rather discouraging. I have plants growing inside, I'm hoping to fill some of the gaps as cheaply as possible.

On a more positive note, I am finally getting a few spring blooms! The irises are always my early bloomers. I also have a few daffodils blooming and the white crocus will probably open today. I think spring is really here to stay this time!

I was given a beautiful bouquet of tulips on Saturday. I had a little photography session with them yesterday!

It won't be long before my own tulips are blooming! I hope they come back this year!

I think I can finally say, Welcome spring!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Face-Off

The male cardinal and male house sparrow face-off:

The cardinal wins!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Winter's Last Hurrah and little Indiana Feature!

Winter, (in Indiana), is not quite ready to hand the reins over to spring! We had a bit of wintry mix again last night and for some reason it feels colder to me in March than it did all winter! I am longing for warmth and sunshine!

I usually hibernate as much as possible during the winter but I knew the March 6th snowfall would probably be our last so I ventured out to Forest Park and Potter's Bridge for a few pictures.

We have had a lot of much needed precipitation this winter and the river has recovered from the summer's severe drought. The water level had been so low that you could walk almost all the way across.

Potter's Bridge is one of my favorite places to take pictures here in Noblesville! I love covered bridges!

This one was taken at Forrest Park. I stopped by to watch the kids sled at the golf course.

You know that I can't have a blog post about snow without a few bird pictures!

We have a few more days of cold temperatures then hopefully it will feel a little more like spring!

Thank you to Jessica Nunemaker, from little Indiana, for featuring Robin's Nesting Place!
Jessica writes little Indiana: Where to Stay, Play, and Eat in Small Towns in Indiana. Discovering Indiana’s best small towns! Jessica is also the host of PBS Indiana Town Explorer!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mockingbird Tales and a Little Coffee Humor

I have enjoyed photographing the birds today, especially the mockingbird! It was freezing and we had a few flurries so the feeders were at full capacity!

I thought this caption was fitting for this picture! I made it for my daughter because she is so not a morning person and this has been a running joke in our family for several years! I think I'll make an 8x10 of it for her to hang over her coffee maker!

It has been so cold the last few days and as soon as I fill the birdbath it freezes. I kept seeing the birds land on it trying to get a drink and I felt bad so I finally pulled out the heated birdbath. I got this one for $2.00 at a garage sale a few years ago. I have tried using it in the past and the birds wouldn't drink from it.

As soon as I put it out, the mockingbird landed and was drinking. None of the other birds were brave enough to venture in for a drink. I need to find something sturdy to hold it so that I can place it further out in the yard. Hopefully the other birds would use it then.

The mockingbird is new to my yard and he has quickly become a favorite to watch! He also chases away the starlings so he occasionally gets special treats of mealworms! I want him to stick around!