For several weeks, a few Cabbage White butterflies show up in my garden. And I know, exactly what their plan is from day one. I have cabbages, cauliflower and kohlrabi growing in my raised beds. This vegetables are the perfect nursery for Cabbage White caterpillars. Once the female laid her eggs, it is only a matter of days until these little boogers hatch and eat their way through my cabbage garden. I have to pick countless amounts of caterpillars off my cabbage leaves almost every day.
Cabbage White Butterfly
The Cabbage White female signals the male, she’s ready for mating.
Him: “Would you like to go out for a cup of nectar, after we are done?” ~ Her: “Thank you, but I have to lay more eggs on the cabbages.”
But I also get some help from Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. Every afternoon, I see them picking caterpillars to feed their offspring. It’s great, having natural helpers in our garden. The downside: When Mr. Cardinal finds some juicy Black Swallowtail caterpillars in my parsley and dill, they end up between his beak and later in the baby cardinal tummies as well. UGH! I guess, we have to take the good with the bad.
“Look at that buffet! …
… The kids will love this rich menu.”
This morning, I watched Mr. Squirrel climb down the tree. He sat on top of his empty critter feeder, kept his tail close to his body and tried to warm up in the Sun. He was debating, if he goes down to the food dish or stays to enjoy the sun rays a little bit longer. In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal had a breakfast of peanut butter rolled in bird seeds with their friends, the House Sparrow and Gold Finch. A Mourning Dove sat on a tree branch and watched the critter and the songbirds from the distance. Later, a White-winged Dove joint the other dove in the tree. Both looked like puffed up balls in this cold weather. Each animal has it’s own way to stay warm, when it was only 14ºF this morning. One used it’s tail and the rays of the sun; some ate a warming meal of fatty peanut butter and seeds; and a couple more birds used their feathers to make air pockets. They know how to survive what Mother Nature throws at them.
Mr. Squirrel uses his tail and the sun rays to stay warm.
The Mourning Dove is a feathery puff ball.
“Hey! I’m back, again! Got some Nyjer seeds for me???”
The White-winged Dove just joint the clan.
Mr. Cardinal enjoys seeds and peanut butter.
This afternoon I filled the terracotta plate with seeds, peanuts, and blackberries. It didn’t take long until the Mr. Squirrel’s friends showed up for a late lunch. This time, Mr. & Mrs Finch and a Downy Woodpecker came over for a visit.
“Oh boy! This year I have a lot of work to plant seeds and nuts in the garden, again.”
“Hmmm, nice buffet with fruit and nuts.”
“Yummy, so delicious!”
Male House Finch
Since Sunday, temperatures were in the 10s and 20s and didn’t reach the freezing point for over 72 hours. My critters and little feathered friends were coming frequently to the feeders. The birds looked like little puff balls, and they didn’t mind sharing their seeds with the squirrels. Today, we finally reached more pleasant 45ºF.
Northern Cardinal, male
Northern Cardinal, female
“Yeah, yeah … it looks like I say the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’. …”
“… But in reality I’m cold. Ma’am, do you have some peanuts for this handsome squirrel?”
“Well, I don’t mind eating sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. Hmmm, so good!”
“Oops, I almost lost my balance! Phew!”
The days become shorter and cooler. Winter is almost here. I’ve noticed more and more birds come back to visit my feeder, again. This morning, I added some peanuts for the Blue Jays. Mr. Blue Jay made his brunch time announcement. And Mrs. Cardinal flew from the neighbor’s tree in to mine. Her mate and Mr. Finch followed her. After all the birds enjoyed their meals, they sat in the tree in rested for a bit. A full birdie tummy feels good in this roller coaster weather.
Mrs. Cardinal just came over from the neighboring tree.
“Oh, the lady left some peanuts for us! Yummy!”
“Which ones do I eat first? The sunflower seeds or the safflower seeds??? … It doesn’t matter. They’ll both will keep my belly warm.”
Due to the cooler weather, I refilled the bird feeders earlier today. Guess who was my first guest telling all the birds, there is food for everyone? Yep, it was Mr. Cardinal. After he ate a few sunflower seeds, he invited the Blue Jays, the House Sparrows, the Dark-eyed Juncos, the Mourning Doves and the White-winged Doves over for lunch.
“Hm, these seeds are tasty!”
“Hey friends! Come over, there is food for everyone!”