MAY NATURE HAPPENINGScardinal courtship behavior

 

• Check out nesting boxes to see what songbirds are building nests or laying their eggs ~ Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Bluebirds or Tree Swallows.

• Keep a watchful eye for the English sparrow (House Sparrow) aggressively taking over another birds nesting box.

• Broad-winged and Sharp-shinned Hawk migration at its peak early in month.

• Northern Mockingbirds can be heard singing through the night into early summer.

• Courtship activities begin for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

• Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are back building strength from their arduous migration from Central America. Keep the feeders filled!

• Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Wood Thrushes, Indigo Buntings, and Chimney Swifts return, plus the mimic thrushes ~ Grey Catbirds and Brown Thrashers.

• Sub-adult Purple Martins return to establish new colonies early in month. 

• Peak of bird courtship. Get up early one morning and see what species is the first to start singing and begin the “Morning Chorus”.

• Nesting materials are being collected, put out some cotton batting or nesting balls.

• Look for Cedar Waxwing pairs passing a flower petal, berry, or insect back and forth as a courtship behavior

• Watch for the male Cardinal to feed the female as part of their courtship behavior.

• Chickadees and titmice become scarce at feeders as they nest and raise their young.

• Orioles return and begin nesting. Get feeders, nectar, jelly and fruit out early.

• Pink Lady Slippers, Painted Trillium, and Bunchberry are in bloom.

• Poison Ivy blooms. Watch out!

• Monarch Butterflies have arrived and are laying eggs on milkweed plants.

• Yearling Black Bears leave their mothers to find a new home now through July, becoming major nuisances in neighborhoods.

• Young rabbits, Gray Squirrels and other small mammals are leaving their nests. Check dead trees for squirrel nests before cutting. Also check your yard before mowing the lawn for rabbit nesting spots.

• Painted and Snapping Turtles are moving to dry land to lay their eggs; look for them crossing roads.

 

SPECIAL DATES:

 

• May 4-6, The 5th Annual Garrett County Birdfest held at Deep Creek State Park, Maryland. For more information go to: http://www.discoverycenterdcl.com/birdfest

• May 6-7, Eta Aquarids meteor shower peaks - best time to watch is in the early morning before dawn.

• May 9, Jupiter will be at its closest to the earth and will be seen all night long.  With a good pair of binoculars you should be able to see four of Jupiter’s largest moons appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.

• May 12, Mason Neck Eagle Festival, Lorton, Virginia:  http://www.masonneckstateparkfriends.org/event-2828118

• May 13, Mother’s Day.

• May 15, New Moon.

• May 18, Last frost date for Northern Virginia area.

• Endangered Species Day, May 18th.  For more information go to: http://www.fws.gov/Endangered/esday/index.html

• May 28, Memorial Day, Wild Birds Unlimited is closed.

• May 29, Full Moon, also called the Full “Flower Moon”.  Early settlers called it the "Corn Planting Moon” and marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, an end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.

 

HISTORICAL DATES:

 

• May 13, 1847, birthdate of Genevieve Estelle Jones, illustrator and author of Illustration of Nest and Eggs of Birds of Ohio (1879).

• May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupts.

• May 25, 1900, President McKinley signed into law the Lacey Act of 1900 that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold.

• May 27, 1907, birthdate of Rachael Carson, author of Silent Spring (1962).

• May 28, 1892, Sierra Club established by John Muir.

• May 29, 1932, birthdate of Paul Ehrlich author of The Population Bomb (1968).