Mr. Indigo can be very territorial. Mr. Indigo Bunting that is. He is always dressed in his very fine blue suit and sits high on a limb and chides me for getting too close to his nest. After all, its full of babies and is very well hidden deep in the Jerusalem artichoke patch. I can be across the yard from his protected dwelling, but as long as I am outside he will be pestering me to move along and get back in the house.
Mr. Indigo is just one of the residents I share the 24-acres of forest with here in the Missouri River hills. The nice thing is that although I own this piece of land, I am bordered on two sides by 300 acres that is privately owned. That is one reason why I finally settled here. This forest is teaming with wildlife.
It is wonderful to sit on the porch and watch the hummingbirds buzzing all around and trying to figure out whom they can share the feeder with and whom they cannot. I frequently see anywhere from five to nine hummers at a time. We also have a plethora of other birds – many that are not typical to urban backyards. Most days I hear the songs from Rufus sided towhees, an assortment of sparrows, American goldfinches, indigo buntings, chick-a-dees, titmice, Louisiana water thrushes, and several warblers. We usually get a nightly serenade from barred owls and an occasional screech owl.
When I decided that I needed to make my lifelong dream come true – to live in a cabin in the woods – I knew the first step was to find just the right woods. It took me 10 years to find just the right place. (So I can relate to Mr. Indigo proclaiming at the top of his lungs, "I love my nest, my nest is best!" Just like the famous P.D. Eastman's children's book.) After working three jobs to pay off a portion of the land and five more years later, my longtime friend and I decided to get married and together we built a dream cabin. It is truly paradise.
However, even paradise can have a troublesome surprise. When you live in a forest of trees, obviously there will be woodpeckers. Weve gotten used to woodpeckers railing on the house every once in a while. Even then, I was somewhat surprised to see a large tangerine-sized hole at the peak of our roof this year. I went upstairs, opened a window, took off a screen and stuck out my head. Sure enough, a red-bellied woodpecker had chiseled a hole in the roof and excavated insulation to boot!
A week later, I ventured upstairs again and stuck my head out. From the scratchy, hissing noises coming from the hole, I could tell that someone had set up house. Now there is a full-fledged nursery up there. Mom and dad are busy round the clock feeding babies.
Its been at least two weeks now since they have been going in and out with bugs, so those babies should be ready to fledge soon.
In the meantime, Ill sit on the porch admiring the view, the sounds, and the solitude with Mr. Indigo chiding me, and a nursery of woodpeckers above.
Reach Lynn Youngblood at TheGreenSpace@sbcglobal.net .