June brings serenity to nature

Barbara Hootman

June is special in nature.  It is quiet, tranquil and brings order to the chaos of May.  In May the migratory birds arrive in waves, and then there is the nonrelenting urge to mate, build nests, get babies in the nest, and hunt from daybreak to dusk.  It is the same for furry creatures.  In June, parents settle in to the raising of families to continue their species.

Barbara Hootman

June is a sweet month with an abundance of fragrant blossoms to please the eye and nose.  There is clover and honeysuckle that are unmatched for sweetness.  It is a new sweetness that man waits for from year to year.

Birds still sing throughout the day, with the chorus in full voice at dawn.  The robin and wren make June vibrate. June is peonies along with roses accompanied by unforgettable perfume.  June is past memories rediscovered and relived.

Iris are in bloom like their ancestors that brought hillsides into view with deep blues, purples and golden yellows.  The yellow and blue iris was once called flags.  Iris are old-fashioned flowers growing by old stone walls and enjoying the neglect.  The flags begin to bloom when the tulips are finished for the season.

Indigo buntings winter in southern Florida, southeastern Texas, Central America and the West Indies.  They arrive on their breeding grounds by mid-May.  They forage for food at every level from the ground to the tops of trees. They are a lone forager in summer, but joins flocks in the winter.

The brilliant, deep blue makes  Indigo buntings a favorite finch at summer feeders. As they migrate, they swoop down in backyards and fill up on available seeds at feeders. Like most finches they enjoy thistle and black oiled sunflower seeds.  In summer their diets shift to almost a total insect diet.  The male helps feed the babies when they are almost ready to fledge from the nest

Indigo Bunting is a favorite, colorful summer time  finch.


The female Indigo bunting is a plain brown finch.  She is inconspicuous, drawing no attention to her or the nest.  She is the main caregiver for the eggs and the young.  The nestlings are fed primarily by the female. Often the male takes over, continuing to feed the fledglings as the female prepares to attempt a second nest.

Young male Indigo buntings look like the female.  They take up to two years to acquire full adult male breeding plumage. Often they show splotches of blue along with the brown body.  Young males also learn song patterns from males on a breeding territory and not from the male parent.

The male establishes the territory in mid to late spring, and defends it with song.  He also has more than one mate in a territory.  Feeding a nest full of fledglings for more than one nest keeps the male busy hunting from dawn to dusk.

The Indigo buntings start migrating back to the South and farther by August.  They migrate at night and in flocks.  Only breeding and nesting season are they loners.

This time of the season, bears continue to look for natural foods in moist areas where natural plants are still in the early development stage. Now the earliest natural foods are no longer available and the berries have not ripened, so bears are on the prowl from dusk to dawn looking for any food they can find.

Black bears will feast on dandelions.  They eat the larvae of insects, and a log with ants is a treat.  They also enjoy bees, beetles  and anything else with eight or more legs. Black bears eat more than 80 percent plant matter, and they are opportunistic about all foods.  Carrion forms a significant part of the black bear’s diet.  This time of the year there are fawns and many other animals.  A sick or injured animal stimulates the predatory attention of bears.  Of course, there are bird feeders everywhere, and a bear is not going to pass up bird seed.

Turtles continue to lay eggs.
Wild turkeys are in full molt.  Females continue to hatch babies.

Gray squirrels begin second breeding period. Notice squirrels chasing each other round and round a tree trunk.  The female decides when mating occurs.

Bobcat kittens are born throughout June.

Keep out plenty of fresh water for bathing and drinking.

Take the bird feeders inside at night to save them from prowling bears.

May you always hear the whisper of wings.