My honey was lounging; reading his newspaper and a little blue bird flew over his shoulder and landed on the window sill. He had never seen a bird that looked like this before. The bird is called a Blue Grosbeak. Rare to see on the eastern shore of Maryland, it likes wide open fields that offer lots of seeds. It migrates up to the lower United States from deep in Mexico, where they live year round, to breed. Could it be that this rare site has taken a liking to the acres and acres of wildflower, sunflower and berries growing this year that we are attracting other nature, of the rare kind?
Well, the Blue Grosbeak’s habitat of choice includes forest edge, fields, low shrubbery and farm lands. Because their diet includes insects, invertebrates, crops including corn, and seeds, they stick close to cultivated areas while breeding and raising young. They commonly raise two broods per year. But could my need for making a hospitable environment for my bees be helping out the surrounding wildlife as well?
Bees love plants, that’s not a secret for anyone, their favorites include Aster, basil, bee balm, bergamot, borage, cosmos, flax, geranium, globe thistle, golden rod, helianthus, hyssop, lavender, lupine, marjoram, mint, mullein, poppy, rosemary, sage, skullcap, sunflower, thyme, verbena, wild rose, and zinnia.
Of which, I personally grow sunflowers and lavender in grand quantity, making the perfect habitat for bees. But flowers also attract other pollen loving creatures like butterflies, other pollinating bugs, and hummingbirds. There’s an entire list of endangered butterflies here in the state of Maryland that may not ever come back due to deforestation and pollution. You can find it on the MD Dept of Natural Resources website. And the saddest thing on that list includes our state insect, that’s right, the Baltimore Checkerspot. Hummingbird species are also rare in Maryland; the two most noticed are the Ruby throated hummingbird and the Rufous hummingbird.
Although creating a habitat takes years to establish. Essential elements of a habitat must include a steady source of clean water, cover, food, and a place to raise young. So far my bees are happy with their habitat, but for animals to start returning and feeling comfortable in the space, they need time, for generations of the animals to get settled and used to thriving and creating future birds and bees here. All I know is these guests are very welcome here.