For spring adventure, just step outside

Published 1:23 am Saturday, April 15, 2017

Some amazing things happen in the springtime. Mother Nature puts on a great show all around us. My snowball bush broke into a riot of blossoms. I was afraid I had lost the dogwood trees in the front yard this year, but now one has a few blooms. They always come out later than neighboring dogwoods.

One morning when I let Little Girl outside, I thought I heard a flutter. I glanced at the azalea bush next to the back steps, wondering if a bird had flown from it. As many times as I let the dog in and out every day, I had never looked into the thick growth of the bush so close to the house. That day, my curiosity was aroused. Peering through the limbs, I saw a jumble of something dark. Yes, it was a bird’s nest. I stepped closer to get a better look. I spotted two tiny eggs. I was surprised that the bird had built its nest so close to the back steps. I couldn’t wait to show my son who was just as surprised. A day later, we saw three little eggs. Once he saw a bird at the nest. And then they were gone. We saw no sign that the eggs had hatched. We were disappointed because we were looking forward to watching some baby birds awaiting feedings.

A friend told me she had been enjoying a woodpecker in her yard. She watched as it brought its fledglings from the nest and stayed busy rustling up food to fill their open, hungry bills.

Beautiful cardinal families have appeared in our yard for years. I assume they nest in near-by trees and bushes next to the back fence. When I first saw one feeding its young, I did not realize what was going on. The young were about the same size as the adult birds. It was quite entertaining. It is a breath-taking sight when the sun shines on a male cardinal’s beautiful red feathers.

I will always remember the sunshiny morning after Hurricane Opal swept into our area. Several trees were down in our back yard. In the midst of that disturbing scene, numerous cardinals perched on the limbs of the downed trees and hopped about in the yard. They must have been chased from their habitat by the storm.

On a camping trip in a state park, we heard about two men finding a young barn owl on the road exiting the park. They took it to the campground and called a near-by animal rescue center. Someone soon came and got it, determined it was unhurt but undernourished, and returned it to the park. The finders took it back where they picked it up and left it on a limb for the mother owl to find it. I was disappointed I did not get to see it.

You don’t have to leave home to find a spring time wildlife show. One might be right outside your window.


Nina Keenam is retired from the newspaper business. Her column appears on Saturdays.