My Favorite Migratory Birds
21 May 2014
This spring we had the pleasure of seeing a variety of warblers who normally have not come that much to our feeder in past years as they are in the habit of eating bugs off the flowering trees and nectar...But we had a long winter and everything was late this spring. I am including some of my favorite migratory birds in this essay and also a nature study journal that my late grandmother wrote in 1905 when she was 22 years old...
My grandmother, Bessie Turner Wilson was a school teacher in Brainerd, Minnesota, before she married my grandfather Fred Wilson in 1907. She attended St. Cloud Minnesota Normal to achieve her training right out of grade school. On a visit to the home place at Christmas time in 2001, my mother mentioned she had some old writings dating back to the 1900's that contained Grandma's journal of notes while she was teaching.
Little did I know the work this would entail as the script written in pencil was so faded I could not read it without the aid of a magnifying glass and the wing of a prayer! It was like trying to fill in the missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. But at the end, it was similar to finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow..This was a part of my grandmother's past that I never knew...She was a very private person who seldom talked about that period of her life.
My grandmother loved birds and she could identify most of them...She could whistle like a bird..She was very proficient in being able to identify almost any kind of trees, plants or flowers..She certainly had a green thumb as everything she grew flourished under her tender loving care..
Below are some notes in her diary that Grandma wrote when she was 22 years old, after taking a nature walk with a group of her students and other teachers...
Grandma's Nature Study Notes By Bessie Turner Wilson, June 28,1905
"We went through the woods on the other side of the west Brainerd Bridge and found a wren's nest with young birds in it and also a yellow canary's nest which was empty. They were near the river under the bridge. We also found the spittle quite abundant on the jack-pine trees and the rosin ball with a caterpillar wrapped in it.
Mr. Teange explained to us about the lichen growing on the trees and ground and told us about mushrooms, puff balls, toad stools, etc. The weed which grows near the bridge is Hemp. This morning, June 28, we learned about the Sapsucker, Downy woodpecker, Hairy woodpecker, Grosbeak, & Purple Finch which is wine color and is found in Wisconsin. We also learned about Chimney Swifts, Martin, Brown Creepers, Barn Swallows, Blue Bird, Blue Jay, Kingfisher, Red Winged Blackbird, Red Headed Woodpecker, Sapsucker, Yellow Hammer, Night-Hawk, Sea Gull, Tern, Cliff Swallows and Bank Swallows."
Grandma's Nature Study Notes Two (continued) by Bessie Turner Wilson July 12, 1905
"We met at the dam about three o'clock. Then some of the girls stayed there awhile until the crowd with Mr.Teange came. The dam was very fierce looking and dangerous as it went splashing over the dykes.
After we had looked at the dam as long as we wanted to, we crossed the bridge and went over into the woods under some shady pine trees and sat down,while Mr.Teange told us of the giant trees in Colorado and their great age. He also broke off some branches of trees and asked us the names of them, and told us the names of some weeds which were growing around. We listened to the call of the Red eyed Vireo and to other birds and saw the Scarlet Tanager fly over. Miss Burrel had her drawing class sit in the road and sketch a picture of the road and a White pine tree. Then we were dismissed. It was seven o'clock before I got to my boarding place."
I would like to conclude my essay with saying that most of our our migratory birds have left now except for the Ruby- throated Hummingbirds and Gray Catbird this month of June. I will never forget the Warblers who left their deepest impression on my heart in the spring of 2014.
An update: I have added another warbler to my series on August 29th. A young American Red Start came to our feeder in the rain and looked through the window as I photographed her. She was born earlier in the spring.