The numerous birds an upside to cool summer

Brenda Mallory's For the Birds

Is it summer yet? I know the northeast and south of this valley are a bit warmer but for my money this is just fine weather. If the rain could stop from time to time I could get the lawns cut. On the plus side of things the birds are numerous this year. Never had quite so many good results with nesting.

The most we have seen are families of woodpeckers, nuthatches, redstarts, chickadees, and crows. Lots of crows.

Karen from Fort Nelson feels she has a lot more young birds as well. She was surprised considering the amount of rain earlier. Mostly juncos, hummingbirds, blue jays and woodpeckers.

If there is anything good about cooler weather we find that the wild flowers display for a longer period. Also if you are interested in foraging for wild foods to eat many goodies are coming on to Mother Nature’s plate. Wild strawberries, saskatoons, wild raspberries and gooseberries. How about chickweed? Just about now you are frowning at the suggestion that this garden weed can do any good.

Since we had a big crop of the stuff and spend too much time trying to rid areas of it I looked up if there was a positive side to chickweed. It turns out it is a real powerhouse of nutrients.

It has been a used as a medicinal herb for centuries. A salve can be made to aid in wound healing. A tea is good for what ails you. Add boiling water to the chickweed and steep for a bit.

Chickweed has lots of C, A and B vitamins. It also contains ingredients that help prevent heart disease and cancer. It works as a diuretic, and laxative. It can be cooked like spinach and used as your green vegetable for dinner. Add some to soup and salads. I have been eating is as I walk about doing the gardening. Of course I avoid areas where the dogs do their thing. We don’t use any chemicals so we are fine in that department. Like the dandelion this plant has a new respect around here.

Back to the birds. Yesterday I saw a hummingbird flying about with a tiny flower segment from verbena stuck on its beak. It rubbed the thing off on a branch and then carried on with the task at hand.

Marjorie was at Summit Lake in the northeast and had seen a couple upland sandpipers there. A report of a spotted sandpiper at Parker Lake.

Finally, saw a brown creeper here. I imagine they nested here. Also reported from Telkwa was a family of evening grosbeaks. Haven’t seen any since early spring. They relish the Saskatoon berries and of course copious numbers of sunflower seeds.

Swallows have moved on from nesting boxes in this area and the northeast.

Susan from Fort Nelson was asking how many birds have second broods of young. It seems like the robin is the only one who does that on a regular basis. Other species do a second or third batch further south. A longer season would account for that.

Two young golden eagles spotted at Muncho Lake. Golden have been breeding there for many years. Saw them myself back in the 80s.

Nice to chat with you when you call 250-846-5095. I read all the e-mail notes that come to mallory@bulkley.net.

Brenda Mallory writes the For the Birds and Spice of Life columns.

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