Bird viewing For Ten Minutes In The Morning Can Make Your Whole Day A Pleasure.

One April morning, while I was running around the house preparing for work, my wife alerted me that there were painted buntings feeding on the seeds of our melochia bush just outside of one of our windows. The melochia has been extirpated from Florida but can still be obtained at some nurseries growing seedlings of plants originating in the Bahamas. I sat down by the window and for ten minutes was treated to a parade of birds that made the nature shows on TV seem dull.

A thirty foot deep area of native shrubs, trees and wildflowers, a bird bath and a small feeder filled with millet created a paradise for our local and migratory birds just outside the window. Our property is bordered with a dense mix of native shrubs and trees while the center has islands of plants.

I sat for only a few seconds before the first group of five, green, female painted buntings arrived. One bird hopped onto the red salvia to feed on its seeds as the plant swayed back and forth. Two catbirds appeared along with two young male cardinals. One of the cardinals took a bath and sprayed water everywhere. The catbirds fed on the firebush berries.

Tzip, tzip announces the arrival of a red, purple, yellow and green, male painted bunting. He came out into the open just as the ruby-throated hummingbird made his tack, tackā€¦ tack, tack, tack computer-like sound while feeding from the firebush flowers. I find myself feeling dazzled. It tickles my senses and makes me laugh at the silliness of the situation. All of this occurred within ten minutes and really made my day special.

As it warmed up, dozens of butterflies came out of hiding and visited flowers or laid eggs on the passion vine and other larval food plants. In the last six weeks we were visited by one young bald eagle, two great horned owls, several black and white, fork- tailed swallowtail kites, which are almost seagull sized, and many coopers, and red tailed hawks. I observed two, crow sized pileated woodpeckers mating and am proud to have them create a large nesting hole in one of our dead pine trees. These large woodpeckers are black and white with a spike of red feathers on the top of their head. If you can, please leave your dead trees so that our local woodpeckers will have a place to find insects and nest in.

Soon, our warblers, buntings and other winter residents will fly north to breed. My hope is that each fall, when they return, there will be more native trees and shrubs for them to find food on and thus, more of them that survive.