Apr 022011

Today I did my first yard walk of the spring. Up here at 8K feet in Colorado our weather is that behind many folks, and the last big snows are finally melting (with it becoming increasingly hard to imagine new ones, but hoping anyway.)

The yard walk is a look around, a break from the work day but also a re-connect with what’s happening around. Are there turkey feathers to be found? Any fresh scat, or beds to review? Any interesting bird noises? Are the aspen budding? There are also a few daily chores…

Wildlife Garden Daily Chores

  • Check the bird water. Is it clean, is it full/fresh?
  • Check the bat box. Do we have occupants yet and/or today? Any guano below?
  • Check the bird feeder. Is it clean/full?
  • Upload the wildlife cameras. (okay, perhaps weekly)

Today though, there is also a little spring cleaning:

Wildlife Garden Spring Cleaning

  • Put out the insect theatre (we had solitary bees in here last year :)
  • Ensure any winter-only bird feeders are put away (from the bears/raccoons)
  • Ensure the bird boxes (emptied and opened over winter) are closed & ready for business
  • Put out the “welcome mat” hummingbird feeder…

Broad-tailed Hummingbird on a Hummer Stick

When to put out Hummingbird feeders?

I always put out a humming bird feeder on April 1st. No, not as a joke, as a welcome mat. I live on the side of a hill, the draw I’m next to is big/wide and often explored by eagles and other raptors. Not sure, but I feel it is a thoroughfare for the returning broad-tailed hummingbirds (hoping the smart scouts cross the saddle into this draw) and they notice the big red feeder welcome mat. Anyway, I believe in ‘claiming’ my share of the buzzing critters early, and letting them know this is a good spot to stay for the summer. Since I typically report the first hummingbird sightings for my canyon I’m either right (or just a little obsessed w/ these guys. :) [BTW: I take the feeder in at night so it doesn't freeeze.]

I hardly ever see a hummingbird before April 15th (tax day for some, hummer day for me) and then only a scout or two for a day or so. The full invasion doesn’t occur until March 1st. Still, from April 1st onwards I enjoy listening out for them.

Hummer Sticks

Opps, almost forgot the important & stress reducing hummer sticks. Be right back…