Spring Garden Notes for Sanity

I realize that I’m incredibly lucky to have a garden I can escape into, even if we’re confined to home.

It’s like having a cabin with an outside deck on the cruise ship of pandemic life.

The least I can do, in gratitude for my good fortune, is to share some of the things going on out there.

I hope to be posting every other day, about birds, or crows, or ravens . . . but some days  I (like many of you) feel just a bit too discombobulated to construct a sentence, so bear with me if there are gaps.

Newly returned pine siskin enjoying the bird bath.

Now that it’s officially spring, I took the bold move of finally removing the bird bath heater. Call me crazy! We may even go hog wild and get the small fountain out of winter mothballs too.

I keep thinking that the Steller’s Jays have moved on permanently, but then, when I’m reconciled to their absence, back they come. It’s not hard to know when they’ve arrived, what with the shrieking calls and flashes of electric blue — my cue to stop listening to the radio and rush outside and enjoy them before they move on again.

The finches, House and Gold, are providing a more melodic garden sound track with an almost constant chorus of song.

Mr and Mrs House Finch

The bushtits are back, but often in groups of only two, now that nesting season has arrived.

Female bushtit with her pale gold eyes.

And those bushtits are still using their clever little claws for holding their food like a the world’s smallest burrito.

I have been doing my Feederwatch bird count each week, even though sometimes it’s hard to settle down and do it. I have to say, I highly recommend it as a mental health strategy. Even if you don’t have a garden, you just need to pick a spot with some birds (even if it’s just a few crows or pigeons), register, and do a count when you feel like it. It doesn’t have to be every week — just when you can.

Often when I go out there to count it’s as if the birds know and they all scarper.

But I’ve learned that if you are quiet enough and just sit for a few minutes, you will find that there’s always a bird somewhere out there.

Often it’s just one modest brown song sparrow scuffling ever so softly through the shadowy leaf litter.

Or a finch, outlined against the sun on a high branch, gathering a long breath for the next musical recitation.

I suspect there may be a metaphor to be sifted out of that word litter  . . .

Song sparrow tightrope walking on the Daphne Odora

To close, I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog, and sometimes writing to let me know it helps a bit.

The fact is that writing the blog helps me a lot too, by giving me something positive to focus on at this crazy time.

So, thanks and stay well, be kind to each other. And to the birds, of course.









29 thoughts on “Spring Garden Notes for Sanity

  1. Oh June! Got the best chuckle from the bushtit holding the world’s smallest burrito (I am a caterer who frequently makes burritos). You’re the best! Thank you yet again.

  2. First time reading your blog, it was thoroughly enjoyable. I agree that we are in a time where feelings of discombobulation will arise. Thank you for the pictures and the words 💚

  3. Your wonderful pictures and descriptions are welcome distractions from the tsunami of Covid-19 news.
    Thank you!

  4. I read this while listening to a multitude of birds – there are lots of trees on my street that I see from my kitchen window – it’s early evening and there’s quite a mixture of various birdsong. They have no idea of how much they give to us! Thanks for heightening my perception!

  5. You should definitely get your water fountain out. I’ve been watching the hummingbirds drink from mine today. Reading your blogs always brightens my day a little.

  6. This is so fun, seeing portraits of the various birds – regulars all around us! I learn, because for some reason, one keeps naming birds in one’s own original language, Dutch in my case, so I’m beginning to learn their English names now, thanks to you.
    I have a woodpecker around the house who won’t stop hammering my roof area, I don’t know precisely where, every day, often at 7 am or in the early evening. Sounds like a jackhammer. Talking about dogged behaviour . . how can I deflect it from doing this? I hope it’s not wrecking the place!

    • If they’re hammering wood to make a nest in the roof (as opposed to banging on chimney to attract a mate) you will need to put up some physical barrier to stop them I fear. May need to call in a professing it’s high up!

  7. Thank you June!
    Your photos and “words about birds” always give me a smile and something to think about.
    I think about your beautiful gazing bowl images often – if that isn’t a meditation, I don’t know what is!
    Now more than ever, it is important to stay connected – with nature and with each other!
    I’m looking forward to more of your posts/photos…

  8. Hi June,

    I enjoy reading your Urbannature blog and your Instagram posts very much and appreciate your recent posts about learning to identify individual crows. In addition to seeing quite a number of magnificent crows, I see gulls and hear northern flickers, occasionally jays.

    Here in New Westminster, the flowers are blooming and the trees are blossoming. Generally there is heightened wild sexuality in the air and on the ground. Various birds showing off to their mates or trying to attract a mate and gathering items for their nests.

    I’m waiting for you to post a photo of Mr & Ms Tit!

    Lastly, your blog and IG posts help WAY MORE that a bit!

    Thank you!!

  9. If you have suggestions about setting up a small fountain or birdbath, it would be much appreciated. We have a really good one, but it’s too heavy to move around, and it cracked during the winter.
    Most fountains seems more decorative than anything else.
    Anyway, photos of just your fountains would be cool.

  10. Hello, June,
    As an avid birder, keen photographer, and newcomer to your blog, I’m just loving it. I enjoy your sense of humor and find your photography amazing.Watching the birds in my own yard every day gives me great pleasure, and since I live in Summerland, it’s fun to compare the goings on here with what is happening in your yard. Thank you for sharing your life and talent with the rest of us.

  11. Hi June, thank you so much for making the time to create and putting the effort in to your blogs, they are greatly appreciated and enjoyed. As the world pauses and catches it’s breath at this time lets hope for a nicer future for living things. Looking for the beauty in everything and breathing deeply calms and restores. Life is great! Loving energy from Australia!

  12. Your photos and comments are an oasis of calm in a crazy and frenetic time. I always look forward to them!
    Penny 🙂

  13. Love your posts! Hope you are doing well during this pandemic we’re in. Thanks for the updates on all your feathered friends and their comings and goings. Life goes on much the same for them, as long as you have peanuts. Or, even if you didn’t. But we know they enjoy them!

    Your fan, Pam Newton

    On Sat, Mar 21, 2020 at 6:21 PM The Urban Nature Enthusiast wrote:

    > The Urban Nature Enthusiast posted: “I realize that I’m incredibly lucky > to have a garden I can escape into, even if we’re confined to home. It’s > like having a cabin with an outside deck on the cruise ship of pandemic > life. The least I can do, in gratitude for my good fortune, is t” >

  14. Thank you for your wonderful pictures and your uplifting words. I live in south Texas and I’m fortunate to have some wonderful birds in my yard all year. Just in the last few months I’ve seen mourning doves, white wing doves, cardinals, sparrows, chickadees, several species of hawks, starlings, grackles, wrens and some I’m still trying to identify. I had two Egyptian geese roosting in one of my large trees but they weren’t willing to hang around when I went outside to visit.

  15. Thanks for brightening my day, love your photos, you captured their personalities.
    Be safe, and thanks again,

  16. Hi, thanks a lot, I never thought to say how much I enjoy your blog until I just read your closing. Your photos and insights are wonderful. And you are right, we need healthy distractions now as it all becomes weirder with every passing day. And I very happily have one of your pins (crow in a heart), given to me by Rob Butler. I appreciate it too. Alan


  17. Ah June, it’s almost like being in the garden with you…and the photos are beautiful. Look forward to seeing the Spring unfold there. Cx

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