May is almost a memory of birdsong
May is leaving the seasonal cycle remembered for her lovey birdsongs and beautiful blooms.
The air of May doesn’t just seem to have a golden glint, it has the gold dust of pollen, the breath of beginnings. The national news reported that it has been a pollen tsunami from North Carolina through the Norteast. Early and midspring tree pollen is at an all-time high, and grasses have started producing pollen at the same time.
The pollen tsunami is real. And while Mother Nature continues to flood the air with pollen dust, many individuals are in allergy misery. A harsh winter, combined with a delayed spring, created almost perfect conditions for maximum pollen production this year.
Pollen is absolutely necessary. It is a plant’s only form of reproduction, and it is produced in mass quantities. It is carried in the air and lands in people’s eyes, nose, lungs and on the skin.
Soon after dawn pulls the curtain back on another day, the birdsong begins again. Where most birds sing from the heart at daybreak, the mockingbird outside my window at work sings all day from early morning through late afternoon. He never tires of the sound of his voice, and the more he sings, the better he gets at combining phrases. Occasionally he is silent, and that is dive-bomb time onto an unsuspecting cat passing through his territory.
It is baby goose time. Canada geese are among the most distinctive waterfowl in our area. They have long graceful black necks and a head with white cheek patches and a white chin strap. They congregate in large flocks, except during nesting time when the gander stands guard 24-hours a day while the goose incubates the eggs.
Now considered pests, the giant Canada geese were reintroduced into areas by man. The current populations represent a successful wildlife protection program that revived numbers that dwindled during the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the giants are popular game birds. They can be found just about anywhere near lakes, rivers, ponds of other small or large bodies of water. They enjoy yards, park lawns and farm fields, thriving wherever grasses, grains or berries are available. Just 50 geese can produce two and a half tons of excrement in a year. Goose droppings, totally digested grass that are not a health hazard, are small and dissolve when it rains.
Canada geese nest in the same region their parents did in previous years, sometimes in the same nest. After the babies hatch, the gander’s personality changes. He becomes more tolerant of other geese and people. If there are other babies in the area, they may form “creches” and be looked after by all the adults.
Also, older, experienced geese will sometimes kidnap goslings from younger, inexperienced geese if it seems the young pair are are not attentive enough to the goslings, and raise them with their young. The original parents are allowed to follow along behind the group, but won’t get their goslings back.
Geese feed early morning and late afternoon. They enjoy cultivated foods such as millet, corn, oats, soybeans, green barley, wheat, rye, alfalfa, clover and sorghum.
During the fall, they eat their share of acorns, which provide a good source of protein. They also eat fallen leaves off the ground.
They mate for life, which means the life of the partner. If one goose dies, the partner usually remains by its side while the rest of the flock leaves.
A mourning goose remains in isolation for extended periods of time. Eventually, the lone bird may re-mate, but some never find another partner, especially if the pair had been together for a long time. It may rejoin its flock, or not.
Goslings begin communicating with their parents while still in the egg. Their calls are peeps, distress calls and high-pitched trills which mean contentment.
Turtles are laying eggs, and wild turkeys are hatching babies.
It is the peak bloom time for Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron. Gray squirrels begin second breeding period. Some baby raccoons are beginning to crawl and climb.
Bobcat kittens are born through June. Juvenile bears are cut loose from their mothers, and are making first decisions on their own.
One visits the mountaintop and is full of misdirected energy most of the time.
Everything must be touched, and if possible turned over.
Garden hoses are surely big snakes that must be killed.
Keep out plenty of fresh water for bathing and drinking.
May you always hear the whisper of wings.