Outdoors: Summertime birds

Aug 12, 2020

"Summertime, and the livin' is easy." Easy, perhaps, but it is incredibly quiet at Interlochen these days.

"Summertime" is from the controversial George Gershwin opera "Porgy and Bess." The way I read the lyrics, the song "Summertime" speaks to white privilege.

But it's hauntingly beautiful, and the tune has been stuck in my head this summer.

It's about the only music I hear outdoors. Even the birds have stopped singing.

It's summertime.

In the winter, putting out a bird feeder is about all you have to do to have a yard full of birds. But sunflower seeds simply do not meet the nutritional needs of parent birds, and they certainly don't have enough protein for baby birds.

In summertime, most birds feed themselves and their offspring with caterpillars. 

Since butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on native plants, to support breeding birds, you need to grow a variety of native tree and wildflower species - the more diversity, the better.

While the parent birds are busy gleaning caterpillars from native plants, they no longer are singing to attract a mate, nor are they quite as intent on defending their territories.

Once the young have fledged, birds go through molt. While they grow new feathers, they are vulnerable and lethargic, so they keep a very low profile.

Music outdoors, at your home, or under the stately pines of Interlochen (next year!).