The Advantage of April

For gardeners in Minnesota, April can be a frustrating month. It’s warm; it’s cold; it’s snowing; it’s too wet; it’s too windy–it’s all of the above on a single day! Fortunately, we have the birds back. With the trees not yet leafed out, it’s much easier to see the birds that are inhabiting our yards and neighborhoods as they forage for food and build their summer shelters. My friend, Penny, has been blogging the last week or so about the many kinds of ducks and birds she has observed.

My favorite bird watching spot is the kitchen window. We have a nice, big ash tree outside of our kitchen window, which is on the second floor of the back side of the house, so I can wash dishes and watch birds pretty easily during April. Once the leaves arrive, I wash dishes and listen to birds. Most of the birds in our yard are robins, barn swallows, house finches and the neighborhood bully, the red-wing blackbird. We have a red-tailed hawk who frequents the neighborhood and occasionally stops on our pergola or oak tree, as he surveys the area for pocket gophers and other varmints. I am always glad to see the hawk. Last year, we had a pair of brown thrashers take residence in one of our high bush cranberries. They were a riot to watch–and hear–because they were constantly cawing at each other and us. The other day, I saw four woodpecker-like birds on the oak in the back. They looked huge to me–but were only about a foot in length. Penny identified them, based on the photo here, as northern flickers.

I’ve been trying to get some nice photographs of birds, but my lens is not that long and the birds fly off before I can get the picture. I suppose that is another advantage of April and birds: they teach the gardener patience.

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