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It's About Time - April 2013

Bushtits on suet feeder

April is the month we’ll be saying goodbye to most of the wintering waterfowl. I am going to miss the buffleheads. The resident early birds have already started nesting while many migrants are just arriving. They will be checking to see if the old nest is suitable for refurbishing for another season. If it is, they will soon start singing songs of domestic joy. The bushtit flocks don’t break up while nesting and feeding young. They do forage by themselves now, unaccompanied by their usual winter companions, juncoes and chickadees.

Wildflower watching is gearing up for its two-month peak in the valley. Wildflowers of the Willamette Valley put on a grand display well before the usual burst of color from home gardens. Conservation and education organizations will be offering a host of events geared to a wide array of interests. Several will have sales of native plants; anybody can do a little restoration.

Remembering what a delight it is to have fresh flowers in the summer, now is a good time to use the longer evenings for gardening. Dry weather should have made garden soil workable. It is not too late to plant potatoes, peas and onions. Maybe try something special grown by local organic farmers that isn’t available from big commercial growers. Somewhere around the middle of the month is the traditional beginning of the frost-free season. If the frost-free season began at the same time each year, it would be a gardener’s festival.