July Notes From a Northwestern Ontario Backyard

Hello again!

This is not the busiest time of the year in my yard but there are still a few visitors making an appearance lately.  It’s quite noisy in the yard these days, actually, because we are being overrun with Grackle and Starling juveniles.  When you get 20 or 30 of them, man, can they make a racket!!

Once again, my husband and I are birdie empty nesters.  Our family of Tree Swallows officially fledged on July 4th.  Our resident pair successfully raised 5 chicks, once again.  Most exciting though, is that this was the first year that I was actually able to sit and watch 3/4 of the process. When we looked outside at 8:00 am that day, my husband was the first to spot 3 youngsters on the ground against the garage door, right below the birdhouse.

2015's first 3 brave little Tree Swallow fledglings

2015’s first 3 brave little Tree Swallow fledglings

As I watched over a period of another 3 hours, the other 2 came out, one of which landed right at my feet!   I kept a very close eye on them the rest of the day, having to rescue 2 of them from traffic.  They made their way out to the street and I had to shoo them off the road … I actually stopped one truck so I could do the rescue!  The adult Swallows are another huge hazard:  if I got within 10 feet of the juvies, I’d have about 20 adult Swallows dive bombing my head! Dangerous work!  By 2:30 pm, they were all gone …. safely, I can only hope.

Last 2 fledglings in the bird house for 2015

Last 2 fledglings in the bird house for 2015

Last Tree Swallow fledgling to leave for 2015

Last Tree Swallow fledgling to leave for 2015

Hubby and I went out in the woods for a ride in our Teryx (side by side 4 wheeler) last weekend and came across 2 separate families of Ruffed Grouse.  The juveniles are so freakin’ cute right now!  Instead of having a full head crest, they just kind of have a ….. spike …. for lack of a better term!

Juvenile Ruffed Grouse

Juvenile Ruffed Grouse

Their tail feathers haven’t completely grown in yet either so they are far from professional fliers at this point.  They stick pretty close to momma Grouse who is VERY protective of them.  With any luck this winter, we’ll have these lovely birds visiting the yard again for the season.

Protective Momma Ruffed Grouse

Protective Momma Ruffed Grouse

We’ve had many Robins in the neighbourhood this summer, successfully raising their families.  I’ve been putting out dried mealworms this summer …. first time I’ve ever used them (we can’t get fresh ones up here, that I know of).  The Robins and Crows love them!

Robin in the flowerbed

Robin in the flowerbed

A  neighbour of mine was lucky enough to have a family of Northern Flickers nest successfully in his yard.  They fledged just last week.  This morning, I took a short walk and had 3 Flickers fly over my head from different directions before I even reached the end of my own lawn!  What fun it’s been to have them around.

Purple Finches are still around but I haven’t seen any young from them yet.  The Goldfinches have mostly disappeared recently so I suspect it is nesting time for them.  Song Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows are around almost constantly.

Female Purple Finch in the Crabapple Tree

Female Purple Finch in the Crabapple Tree

We have also been lucky enough this year to have a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in the neighbourhood.  They are getting closer to the yard!  I remain hopeful for next year.

Male Eastern Bluebird on a powerline over my driveway

Male Eastern Bluebird on a powerline over my driveway

My yard is getting much more colorful these days and will be a riot of color very shortly as my late summer plants burst into full bloom.  This Tiger Swallowtail loves the Honeysuckle blossoms as do the odd Clear-Wing Moth.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Honeysuckle Shrub

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Honeysuckle Shrub

Peony Shrubs

Peony Shrubs

Funky Bird in backyard garden!

Funky Bird in backyard garden!

Until next month ….. thanks for reading!

Tammie  🙂

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2 Responses to July Notes From a Northwestern Ontario Backyard

  1. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks so much, Angie! 🙂

  2. Angie says:

    Great blog Tammie! Loved reading about the Tree Swallows. Look forward to next month’s post. 🙂