This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Chickadee Nest

Well, back from Texas. The new grandchild, Noah Evan, is just perfect.

In addition to his arrival on the train (earlier post), more and more evidence of the coming season presents itself. One of the things I noticed today is the half-built chickadee nest in one of my birdhouses. If you have them, you might check your birdhouses to see if you have an occupant yet. It’s a good idea to clean out any old nesting material from last year’s activity; it can harbor things not conducive to healthy young birds. If the birdhouse(s) you have can’t be cleaned out, you might consider getting some with a side that can be opened. The ones I make can be opened both from the side and the top. If you live anywhere near water, you might also host some prothonotary warblers (aka swamp canaries) pretty soon. They will also use the same houses and their nests look similar. The basic chickadee nest, at least in my yard, is made mostly of moss – not the Spanish kind – the green kind that grows close to the ground in damp places. It’s amazing how fast they can build a nest. It seems that you look one day and nothing is in the box, and in no time you look again and the box is full of nest material. I guess they can’t waste time with something as serious as extending their genes into another generation.

Another thing, I imagine all the goldfinches that were here up until a couple weeks ago are no longer raiding your feeders. Some of them are headed north, but some are taking advantage of the new growth on the trees. It would seem that they will prefer natural food if they can get it.

The buff-bellied hummingbird is still here. She will travel maybe a thousand miles pretty soon.

Well, it looks like we will not get a freeze this year. A lot of things that are considered “perennial” usually get killed back to the ground by at least one freeze every year. This year many of them did not do that, and they are starting growth on the old stems. This includes bananas. From past experience, I would expect that the bananas we have will produce fruit this year, on the old stalks from last year’s growth. Yum, they make good eating when fried in a little butter until golden brown.

I baited the trotline this afternoon. I had about ten small bream that got into the shrimp traps and I used them and put shrimp on the rest of the hooks. Looking forward to seeing what might be on tomorrow.

The river is at 5.3 on the Butte La Rose gauge. The Mississippi is falling all the way up, but the Ohio is starting to show a little water. Still a long way to go for a significant rise. Poor Basin crawfishermen. A friend paid 1.80/lb for live crawfish the other day. That’s too much for me.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger Bud Forester said...

Maybe edit out that mention of bream? Thought that was only legal at Toledo Bend. I've enjoyed the signs of spring, too. Might paddle soon over your way; I'll smile and wave when I pass.

March 03, 2006 9:41 PM  
Blogger jim said...

OK, maybe they were goldfish that somehow got into the shrimp traps, stranger things have happened. If you let me know when you will paddle by, we can have coffee on the dock. Thanks Bud, Jim

March 03, 2006 10:18 PM  

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