March was warm. The flora changed from gray to verdant. Flowers bloomed, insects buzzed,
and neotropical birds began reappearing. Some song birds, such as the Eastern Phoebe, began nesting.
Frogs continued to sing and breed. Lizards basked daily.
The birds enjoyed the free meals at my feeders, but I did not observe any unusual bird species over the winter.
However, I did have a problem with storage of my birdseed. I keep the birdseed in a metal, lidded 10-gallon bucket.
On numerous occasions I found the lid, which fit tightly, not covering the bucket. I accused myself and my son
of forgetting to replace the lid after feeding. My son suggested that some wild creature was getting into the seed.
I did not think that an animal could open the lidded bucket. Just in case, I set up a trail camera. I was wrong!
A pair of Raccoons were photographed raiding the seed. They were even able to remove the lid with the handle latch engaged.
For the first time, we experienced a noticable emergence of a recent (2009) invasive insect to the USA, the Kudzu Bug,
My defeat by wildlife did not end with the Raccoons. A pair of Eastern Phoebes began constructing a nest on a bend
in a roof gutter drain on my house. They built a nest in the same place last year, but this year I decided to discourage them.
I placed a rubber snake on the bend. This did the trick and the birds stopped building the nest. However, a few days
later, they were building a nest on top of a door light. From my viewpoint, an even less desirable location. I did not
have another rubber snake, so I placed a rubber Tyrannosaurus on the light. The birds showed no fear of this terrible
monster, but seemed to find its large presence limiting their nest building. I thought I had the secret to keeping
the nests from the house. Next, the Phoebes began building a nest on top of a spotlight. I borrowed a rubber snake
from my grandson and laid it on the bend. Maybe the birds had grown smarter, or more desperate, or just were not afraid
of a "green" snake. They paid no attention to this potential predator and proceeded to finish their nest. Oh well,
maybe I can get an interesting image of the fledglings sitting on the rubber snake.
I did photograph for the first time a Merlin on my farm. It was not a great photo, but good enough for identification.
Other raptors were busy during the month. I photographed a Northern Mockingbird harassing a Red-shouldered Hawk.