Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Apparently SOMEbody thinks we have pasture

The seemingly never-ending job of making pasture out of the woods (growing out of rocks and boulders, nonetheless) must actually be coming along, if only bit by bit.  I say this not only because we (meaning Paul) has been taking down more trees, but because just a few days ago I heard something strange.  Not strange as in "What is that?", but strange as in "What is that sound doing HERE?"

I not only heard, but visually confirmed four Purple Martins.

These birds are not strangers to our area, but they are strangers to our homestead as these swallows live near OPEN fields where they have adequate area to dive bomb, pursue and preform aerial acrobatics in order to catch their insect meals.

I'm hoping that they are nesting, or trying to find a nesting site, in one of the many woodpecker pecked holes in the numerous snags around the property.  But in order to encourage these flying insect connoisseurs, I may have to go out and find some of those birdhouse gourds and make a few nests to encourage them to stay.

And since I'm on the subject of birds, I also noticed that the two Eastern Phoebes are back in their nests again.  Both sets managed to successfully hatch / brood / fledge their babies just two weeks ago. The one on the porch doesn't contain any eggs yet, but the male and female have been tidying up the nest and adding more goat fuzz and moss to it.  I don't know the status of the nest in the goat barn, but she must be laying eggs or sitting on them as it would be too early for hatching.

I'll try to keep an eye on the eggs in the nest though as I saw a cowbird hanging out in the goat barn this afternoon during the goat feeding frenzy.  I found a cowbird egg in the nest on the porch a few years ago (and disposed of it) and would do the same if I found one in either of the nests this year.  No free-loading allowed here!


  1. Lucky you on the potential for Purple Martins! I'd love to get some around here but not enough open area dang it! Sure hope they decide to stick around!

  2. Carolyn,

    I hope your Purple Martins stay, how awesome would that be?

  3. I love phoebes, but they are so messy! A couple of years ago, they made a nest on top of some PVC pipe I had planned to use. It was so fun to watch the process of egg to fledgling. I hope those purple martins set up housekeeping in your vast open meadows...

  4. Hi Carolyn,
    We don't have Martins only swifts who happily took over my bluebird box. That's okay cause they munch on the mosquitos too. I tried a birdhouse gourd, got lots of lookers but much to my dismay some nasty hornets decided it would be perfect for them. Those cowbirds are the pits, haven't seen any around in a while but I am going about to go bonkers over the Mockingbirds. They seem to think I put the cat food out for them.

  5. Over the years we too have tried to secure purple martins for our old farm but failed. THIS time we are going to do it right. Since I'm not sure what we did wrong at the other place I don't really know what "right" is but we'll figure it out...I hope