Breeding Season for Birds Leads to Nature Connections

By Craig Makufka, Naturalist

Everyone take a minute and picture a baby animal. What expressions come to mind? I bet that for the majority of people it is something along the lines of “Awe, how cute, ” since pictures of baby animals usually illicit warm and fuzzy emotions. Now imagine seeing these baby animals in their natural habitat. Doesn’t that conjure up even greater feelings? Those emotions can produce powerful connections to nature. A baby is at its purest form of that animal, a joyous celebration of life.

photo 2This time of year, is the breeding season for numerous birds around the Farm, from the migratory Barn Swallow to the resident Northern Cardinal. Even the winter breeding Bald Eagle’s young are around just starting to take flight. With all these cute and fuzzy young birds around, there are many great opportunities to make a personal connection to nature. These connections are not just isolated to the children that visit here but also to the many adults who visit. Now I will admit that you and I will not have the opportunity to see most of the young birds growing in their nest here on the Farm, however, luckily for us, there are a few species that raise their young in easy accessible locations.

photo 1As you approach the barn, just look up and you will see many Barn Swallows flying gracefully through the air. They are on a mission to collect as many insects as they can in order to feed their brood of hungry nestlings. As you walk in the barn, plastered on the over-hanging boards, are twenty of so nests and each nest is filled with 5-7 fuzzy noise-making baby birds. Traveling from the barn toward the shoreline, you will see the many bluebird boxes, which create homes for bluebirds as well as but Tree Swallows and sometimes other species of birds. Besides the boxes, we have birds building nests in strange places around the farm, like the Eastern Phoebe who built a nest and fledged two chicks on top of an outside light at the lodge.

These various nesting habits allow for accessible observations of cute and cuddly baby birds. Each child and adult who come to the Farm throughout the year have the opportunity to learn about and experience the wonder and worth of nature and out environment. What better way to experience nature than by viewing a baby bird? A baby, the joyous celebration of life.