The movie this Saturday night at the Whallonsburg Grange is “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. This film is full of beautiful images of the earth from space, the best since “2001.” On the other hand, there’s only one gruesome scene and the critics loved it. It starts at 7:30 p.m.
Although there’s activity at the neighbor’s sugar house, we’re still several weeks away from the true beginning of the season. Much of a tree’s sap is held in the roots, so snow needs to melt back from the trunks before this sap will flow readily. Nevertheless, the trees are tapped, the fire wood is ready and soon steam will be billowing up from the roof vents.
Right now chickadees are singing their mating song, a two noter that sounds like fee-bee. It’s a lot like the phoebe’s call, but less raspy and not repeated ad infinitum. Around town, there are flocks of bluebirds, especially in hedge rows, and of course innumerable robins on the roadsides. Although I’m no expert, I get asked about attracting bluebirds to the backyard, so I did a little research. They like lawns with widely spaced trees, which they hide in and watch for insects in the grass. This time of year they’ll eat most anything, but if you want to be truly welcoming, put out a platform feeder with meal worms and raisins soaked in water. They also like suet, especially when mixed with fruit, and all of our feathered friends like a heated bird bath. It should be about two inches deep and large enough for about a dozen birds. Bluebirds like to bathe together. The familiar nesting boxes should be placed about six feet above the ground, and the boxes should be in pairs, placed back to back, about 15 feet apart. A lone box will be taken by tree swallows, but swallows won’t nest near other swallows, which allows bluebirds to move into the second box. They can have up to four broods a season. Starlings, house sparrows and crows prey on blue birds, as do snakes, raccoons and especially cats. Cats keep rodents in check but can’t resist a toothsome young bird.