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Watch out for critters this spring

Stop. Step back, and move away slowly and quietly.” Ron’s hushed and deliberate voice caused me to think, “Big rattlesnake.”

Fact of the matter, a camouflaged tiny fawn lay motionless in some tall grasses of our side yard, a few yards from where we had been weed-pulling around a decaying fallen tree.

The first time we saw such a sight, over 20 years ago, we planned a rescue for an “abandoned fawn”. I phoned a wildlife rehabilitator whose name we found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That rehabilitator informed me that mother deer leave their fawn hidden while they graze. She told me, “Stay away.”

Just last week, two individuals contacted me regarding a “rescued” baby bird. Both had placed a baby bird that could not fly in a cage and made efforts to provide food. No! No!! A thousand times “no.”

When you see a baby bird hopping on the ground, leave the bird unless it’s in peril. Some species of birds fledge (leave the nest for the first time) before they can fly. The parents of these babies tend to them.

If the baby bird must be moved as a safety precaution, move it to bushes close by.  You may not see the parents; but, it’s likely the parents see you and will know where you placed their baby.

Also consider that, sometimes, a bird parent tosses a nestling from the nest. Interfering with a fledgling on the ground is interfering with nature.

Last week I mentioned some native plants in local nurseries have been treated with insecticides while at the grower’s facility. A manager at The Great Outdoors Nursery told me he’s teaching customers that aphids on a plant show the plant is safe as a food source for wildlife, which is particularly important for butterflies.

A volunteer sunflower plant near our garage has not encountered insecticides. On Monday, several beautiful beneficial red-orange native ladybugs (genus Cycloneda, either “Red Lady” or “Orange Lady”) sat on the top side of green leaves that underneath teemed with aphid life. 

Laura Craig and James Polk saw mention of Painted Buntings. Laura saw her first Painted Bunting the previous week. James and Dianne saw their first “in all its colorful glory” on Thursday, April 26th.  We saw our first on Tuesday. Patricia Porterfield on Maple saw a female on Saturday. They’re baaaack, all over Mountain City. 

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak has visited The Porterfield’s feeder. What a beauty!

KissMe had a great day at the Buda Wiener Dog Races. After his leisurely run in the first heat (where he stopped to greet the blond at the finish line), he enjoyed attention in the grandstands and on the festival grounds. A preschooler, frightened of dogs, unfroze with KissMe’s warmth. Child magnet that KissMe is, he got lots of strokes.

Tidbits stroke me the right way. Please provide. Email ptom5678@gmail.com (subject: Tidbit) or leave a message at 512-268-5678. Thanks! 

Love, PTom 

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