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It's About Time - July 2012

The chickadees have fledged from the nest box hanging outside our breakfast window. We miss the daily watching of their activity. It’s like letting go of children who head out into the world on their own, leaving us parents. We feel special connection to the chickadee mommy and daddy who brought tidbits of suet and bugs at a frantic rate in the final week. The end game drama was watching them coax the youngsters out of the nest by bringing a snack to the entrance hole, showing it to them, and then refusing to give it to them but instead carrying it back to the adjacent blueberry bush. That took only a day or two; they knew when the time was right.

Resident birds that nested early will be starting a second brood. The migratory birds completing their annual generation will hustle to fatten up and head south soon. Likewise, flying squirrel and river otter young are reaching maturity and getting prepared to explore the world for new territory. Only when they have learned to forage and hunt for themselves are they ready to embark. The older, wiser parents are best at the training. We watch ducks and geese doing the same.

In the lowlands, native plants are past flowering peak. Fruits are maturing. Wild cucumbers are ripening on rampant vines, its seeds often ripped untimely from the fruits by scrub jays. It’s forbidden fruit to humans: the bitter rind is just that, the most bitter plant of the region.