The bees and the birds

We. Need. Bees.

Without them we’d have to hand pollinate everything. There are no bees in many parts of the world. Fewer flowers for them to feed on, less habitat for them to live in and pesticides are just a few reasons why bees are on the decline. Disease is another cause.

It’s horrible. No doubt about it. Humans are destroying the very earth, and all the creatures, they depend on for their existence. We won’t be living on Mars, or any other planet. Come on.

http://www.dw.com/en/pollinating-by-hand-doing-bees-work/a-17822242

I leave a large portion of my yard unattended, not necessarily because I want to, but because it’s just too much work. It has an upside though. The bees benefit from my inability to do it all. Dandelions are the first flowers of the year (weeds really, but I don’t care), the bees like ’em. Daisies and other flowers I can’t name are also favorites. When I see a bee, I’m happy. Next year I’ll even plant flowers for them.

Several days ago I discovered a bumble bee nest in my back yard. Previous to that, I’d once seen a bumble bee fly into a random, dime-sized hole in the ground. It was near my garden bed and made me curious enough to do some research. I learned that it’s uncommon to see a bumble bee nest and if you do, consider yourself very lucky!

That lone bumble bee going into that hole in the ground had most likely been looking for a suitable place to make a nest. But it didn’t choose to stay. I figured my chance to witness such a rarity had come and gone, probably never to occur again.

Until I found the nest.

I don’t recall why I was in that particular part of my yard, perhaps one of my dogs was snooping around and I had to check it out too. It’s a section that’s horribly grown over with weeds. I was thrilled when I saw about a dozen bumble bees flying around. I watched them long enough to see where they were going. They had chosen a bin full of yard waste. A large piece of bark over the top was the perfect roof and long, dried strands of grass were perfect for burrowing into.

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I looked in on them a few times a day for a couple of days, fascinated by their movements, wishing I could see inside their nest, and then finally left them alone. I’m glad I’m an adult and not a curious child with a stick! The bees will do their business undisturbed and move on. Or die. I’m not really sure what happens to bumble bees at the end of their season.

While I periodically checked on this bumble bee nest, a small gray and black sparrow (I’m guessing it’s a sparrow) often chirped nearby. She (I’m guessing it’s a she) usually had an insect in her mouth so I thought perhaps she was feeding a baby or two. Naturally I had to watch what she did as well. She went right into the nest I’d spotted a couple months before but assumed was abandoned or old as I didn’t see any birds in it. Now Mama Sparrow was feeding a baby. How wonderful. I kept a distance but observed her for a few days, keeping my dogs locked out of the back yard.

Last night when I looked closely at the nest I could see two babies looking back at me!!

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Like tiny, little statues they remained motionless. I snapped a few quick pictures and hightailed it out of there before I upset them or their mama.

Unlike the spot Mr. and Mrs. Robin had chosen, this location was almost brilliant. Nestled snug on top of a 4 x 4 in the corner of a rickety shed (on my to-do list for demolition but now maybe I should keep it for the birds) and very unlikely a pesky squirrel would pass by. It’s sheltered from the wind, the sun and the rain. The only problem is the lack of branches to venture out onto. While the flowering weeds are good for the bees, those poor baby birds will be lost among them once they fall to the ground! While helping one, I’ve hindered the other!

I’ll do my best to keep an eye on them but I can’t be out there 18 hours a day. . . . . be safe little birdies! Perhaps the weeds will be okay and offer them somewhere to hide during their transition from nest to flying free. . . . I sure hope so!

Toads. Birds. Bumble bees. Yes, I do appreciate critters most people dismiss or just don’t consider. I love it when they choose my yard. I hope they all come back next year. I’ll try to have “temptations” for them 🙂

*** I was just re-reading my post and clicked on the picture of the baby birds. I didn’t know I could zoom in!! There were 3 babies in the nest. And I say were because they’re all absent now. . . . . .I hope they’re all safe in the tall weeds. I’ve kept my dogs completely out of the back yard today.

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