Friday, February 12, 2016

Outdoor Mom's Journal - February 2016

Each month I'm doing the Outdoor Mom's Journal which is an idea from the Handbook of Nature Study website. Below are my answers to the monthly prompts.

During our outdoor time this week we went....to the barn, around the backyard, and to the mailbox. We were sick so spending time outdoors was at a minimum.

The most inspiring thing I experienced was...seeing cardinals at the feeder outside my bedroom window. I changed the type of birdseed this past week to one designed for cardinals. Sure enough, they started appearing. There are both males and females; and we are hoping that they nest here again this spring.

Cardinal and black-capped chickadee 
at my feeder.

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)...if the cardinals that I was seeing had lived here before.

I did some searching on the internet and found out that cardinals don't migrate; and tend to live within a .6 to 1.2 mile range from where they were born.

Northern cardinals establish small territories surrounding their nest. Males will chase other male cardinals and intruders away from their territory to protect the young.

They also live to be 15 years old. So, quite possibly, these are cardinals that have been here before or perhaps have been at neighboring farms. Now, I need to figure out how to make our farm the best one for the cardinals so that they will stay here and we can enjoy their beauty year-round.

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting....I've acquired the little pond and fountain that my parents used to have on their deck. I remember my dad had some plants and a goldfish or two in there. When the season changed, he gave the goldfish to a neighbor.

This spring, I'm trying to think about the best place to put the pond in the ground. We have another one that is in the butterfly garden that I would like to get going again. The birds enjoyed having a source of water and would sit on the rocks and drink from the little waterfall.

I am reading...the Wildlife Habitat Education Program manual for the 4-H Wildlife Project Bowl. This is a 300+ page manual that describes the 16 ecoregions in the United States, the wildlife found in each ecoregion, and wildlife management practices. It's an interesting book packed with information.

I've enjoyed reading articles in the paper that reference some of the terminology and concepts in the manual. Had I not been reading this, I would not understand as well what the articles were referencing.

I am dreaming about…the bulbs that I planted this past fall and hoping that they will bloom this spring. I also am hoping that the roses and lilies that I transplanted from my parents' gardens will bloom here and that they made it through the winter.

A photo I would like to share...at our 4-H Wildlife Project Bowl meeting, I encouraged the youth to bring in natural items that they had collected that wanted to show and talk about with others on the team. There was a diversity of items including: insects, butterflies, antlers, shells, feathers, and even a taxidermied duckling.


A table filled with items from nature that
4-H youth shared with one another.

The stuffed animals were brought by two girls as part of the team mascot contest. Each team (junior and senior) will have a team mascot that they will have with them when they are at the regional meet next month.

2 comments:

Barb McCoy said...

Isn't it interesting that just changing the seed up made a difference with your cardinal. It makes sense though. Thanks for sharing your link with your entry...I always enjoy reading about what you are up to.

Rita said...

That would be so cool to have the cardinals around all year! They are so striking.
And to have the ponds/fountains going might encourage them, too. ;)