Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Life in a mulberry tree

We are blessed to have a red mulberry in our backyard. Some will think I'm a lunatic for making such a statement because many people hate these trees. They, well, they make lots of mulberries, which make quite a mess when they fall all over your yard or driveway or whatever. But for me, it is the Tree of Life--as soon as the berries begin to ripen in June, it is filled with birds of all sorts, sun up till sundown, and overnight the deer and raccoons come and clean up what's on the ground. And what's even better is the tree is right outside the second floor bedroom window and thus offers me an opportunity for some great shots.

Here is a young oriole learning the ropes of self-sufficiency. There have been three babes in the tree at once and I'm trilled to see them.

This is about the only time that I see cedar waxwings, and we'll often have 5 or more in the tree at once. This is a male in breeding plumage.

I am not sure if this is a juvenile or female red-wing blackbird.

I've seen two young red-bellied woodpeckers in the mulberry. This one was calling mom, who was none too happy about being bothered, and shortly after this came flying up and chased the youngster away. Guess her work raising her brood is done!

Cardinals abound in the mulberry too.

I was surprised to see king birds--I had no idea that we had any around here, I've always seen them near water. I originally thought these were young tree swallows, but the swallow has a much smaller bill and no white on the tail. A new species for the Farley Road bird list!

Here a female red-bellied woodpecker has words with (I think) a young starling.

Even the robins get in on the action, and the tree hosts juveniles and adults alike.
So before you have trees and shrubs removed because they make a mess on your patio, think about all the life they support. We lost a good chunk out of this tree in the spring during a storm, and I hope that it heals itself and hangs on for a good long while. We would lose so much life from our backyard if we lost this tree, and the birds and animals that sustain themselves with it's bounty every year would lose, too.

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