Spring on the wing

Spring is erupting in all directions. The Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) nest that graces my fence has very recently produced three newborns and I’m looking forward to watching their progress (and seeing how they all squeeze into a space that’s probably two inches across at most). It’s still damp and chilly here so the mother is spending a good deal of time warming their hairless, featherless bodies. I knew they were big on nectar – hence their value as pollinators – but hadn’t realized they also chow on insects. I’ve hung a feeder nearby that should (for now) be safe from the ants who overran it last time I hung it out. I’ll have to make an ant moat if they become a problem again.

Speaking of moats, I’m intrigued by the idea of a chicken moat. Not a chicken keeper myself, but I’m working on a group project around chickens for the Permaculture Design course I’m taking.

Other airborne creatures have been in the news lately. Meli sent me notice of the headline item that bees are being adversely affected by pesticides. I am not quite certain why it has suddenly become headline news that if pesticides kill insects, and bees are insects, then bees are going to be harmed by pesticide use, but I suppose it does not hurt to belabour this important point. To which should be added the related point that pesticides will also harm beneficial insects besides bees, as well as the higher life forms (hummingbirds, for example?) that feed on those – whether by poisoning them or by removing a food source.

Let us all (who are within geographical reach) celebrate our wisdom in these matters by heading off this Saturday to enjoy a pesticide-free work party at Haliburton Community Organic Farm.

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