It is at this time of year that new life abounds, in every taxon you can imagine. Our backyard has been host to many youngsters, and I am sure it is not yet over. This post covers activities from 1 July through 4 July and the images are posted in the sequence in which they were taken.
One of our favourite Malbecs is called La Linda so when we spotted a first instar caterpillar of Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) on our Rue (Ruta graveolens) it seemed natural to call her Linda. And we grew quite fond of Linda, and watched her progress from one instar to another, plump and robust, full of vigour.
So it was sad one day, when Linda was no longer present. Caterpillars are essential food for so many other organisms of course, and predators abound, from birds to wasps.
But we miss her!
The legendary fecundity of rabbits is well known to all, and our backyard is host to regular congregations of hopping, jumping, chasing, gambolling kits.
They unerringly know which are her favourite flowers and they home in on them like a laser-guided missile. They ignore the weeds and go straight for the flowers. The perversity of it all is that it is not always for food. They gnawed off her Lupines down to the ground, but ate not a bit, leaving wilting stems and flowers lying on the soil.
Lagomorphicide could easily become a fact of life in our backyard!
The stars of the show have unquestionably been a male Hairy Woodpecker (Dryobates villosus) and a very healthy offspring.
Hairy Woodpecker adult ♂
Hairy Woodpecker, juvenile ♂
Once the young leave the nest, feeding duties are usually divided between the parents and it appears that this young male has the exclusive attention of his father.
Hairy Woodpecker is an exceedingly handsome bird, and while they do attend our feeders from time to time, this is the first time young have been fed in our yard.
They are here every day, usually several times. Every night I take down my feeders, otherwise helpful Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are happy to do it for me, and this morning a little after 06h:00 when I went out to hang them up, father and son were already there.
Quite often they occupy the feeder, one at either side, yet the adult, as though responding to some inner compulsion, will reach around and feed the young bird.
These birds have entertained us royally, and we feel a great sense of privilege to share our garden with them.
The final marquis performer is a young male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) who seems to get more handsome every day.
Not for him dependence on an adult. He has become totally independent and is fully competent in taking care of himself.
He is never far from our yard it seems, where there is food, shelter, cover and water. Just about everything a bird could need.
It is a pleasure for us to share our lives with these creatures and we hope there are others to follow. Well, except for rabbits, that is!