Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 62

ings with tall dead trees, where it builds
its snakeskin-lined nest.
Nearly all the birds that return in May
breed on our mountain. Blue-gray gnatcatchers build a nest on a black locust
branch. Gray catbirds favor the forsythia
hedge and the lilacs, flying back and forth
in front of the veranda, living their busy,
noisy lives. And northern cardinals tuck a
nest in the one remaining multiflora rose
bush beside our driveway.
Most lively of all are the Carolina
wrens. After nearly a week of rain, I managed on May 18 to walk up to our two-car
garage where an eastern phoebe family
always nests on one of the ledges inside.
The phoebe female sat tightly on a nest
in the back of the garage while Carolina
wrens were feeding nestlings on the ledge
beside our car.
Both Carolina wren parents had caterpillars in their bills and scolded loudly
when I approached. I retreated, but
checked again later, when one of them
scuttled out from beneath the car and flew
outside protesting my presence.
The following evening, we had a huge
storm. Wind swept rain over the veranda
and we noticed two Carolina wren
fledglings clinging by their feet to
the living room/veranda window
screen, while a third one huddled
on the floor below.
When Bruce and I went
outside to see if we
could help them,
the adults

62

appeared, and off they all flew off into
the storm around the house to the back
porch. They turned out to be the garageledge family.
After that, they acted as if they belonged
on the veranda and the back porch and
often scolded us when we appeared.
One afternoon, the Carolina wrens
flew onto the veranda table and vocally
protested when Bruce sat in his usual
seat. Near dusk they came chattering into
an old phoebe nest on top of the veranda.
We counted the three fledglings as they
settled in for the night and were serenaded
by their parents in the lilac shrub. Without
doubt, Carolina wrens are the most charming and entertaining of any songbirds we
have here.
Early in May, Virginia bluebells
bloomed in our backyard, while a wide
swath of ajuga bloomed in our lawn. Both
blue-colored flowers attracted returning
ruby-throated hummingbirds. One warm
afternoon, I pulled on a red sweatshirt,
went outside to join Bruce on the veranda,
and told him I was going to attract a hummingbird. Almost immediately a hummingbird buzzed me as Bruce watched.
Our daughter-in-law Paola, down in the
guesthouse, faithfully hung three hummingbird feeders from the front porch and
spent hours watching those feisty birds
compete for food.
Then there was the hen turkey. We see
one every spring that always seems to
have a nest hidden somewhere, in First
Field or maybe in the woods at the base
of Sapsucker Ridge.
Last spring, we first saw the hen walking down our driveway the morning of
May 6, and we saw her many times after
that. One afternoon, I spotted her on the
barn bank while I sat on the veranda. She



Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020

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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Contents
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - Cover4
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