Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Timing Breeding: Cardinals Signal Spring Is Here

Chickweed in this photo taken 2/23/10 is still very frosted and does not show new growth. Every place I stepped, it mashed flat to the ground.

Although nearly a month earlier, this photo taken 1-17-09, shows new growth and just a hint of frost around some bottom leaves.

This morning as I awoke, for the first time this year, I heard a male cardinal calling. And when I set down to breakfast and gazed out into my back yard, I saw a male cardinal chasing a female cardinal! Her biological clock is ticking but she is waiting for warmer temperatures before she is ready to go to nest! The male cardinal is planting the breeding idea seed and mother nature will add some sunshine and warmer temperature, vegetation, available foodstuff, and some Spring rains! In about a month she will be building a nest and laying eggs!!

I was somewhat taken by surprise to hear and see the cardinals, as coming home from the KU game and again Sunday night, I drove home on slick ice, sleet and snow covered roads! Although I have been wondering if we were getting close as last week I notice some early Spring bulbs are coming up and just this week the trees have doubled their bud size and are very close to flowering.

Today is the canary males third treatment with ABBA fertility vitamin E. My normal pattern is to turn the lights up suddenly on the fourth week. Usually by then in addition to cardinals, I have seen a male goldfinch wearing his bright yellow vest and the chickweed showing sufficient growth that seeded heads will be available by the pairing time about three weeks away.

Should I turn the lights up a week earlier than I originally planned? I am tempted especially when my friend Doyle, who also lives in Wichita, reports he has already banded a number of chicks....

But the natural signs, although promising, are not in agreement yet as the chickweed is green but low to the ground and not raising any heads and the goldfinches are not dressed for Spring. So that means, although tempted to start breeding season, I should be patient and not rush.

There is one other consideration, hopefully within the week, my DKB banded German rollers will clear customs and fly to Wichita. On the day they arrive, I will turn the lights up!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you are remarking on natures own indicators of spring and nesting time for birds.
Dorothy & I always note when we see the first Robin in our yards. This year, they've been elsewhere on the Gulf Coast, but just yesterday they were here. Can't beat Mother Nature