The last two nights we've shut the house up and put the air-conditioning on. It's a little early in the season for it, but as we get older we don't tolerate the heat and humidity like we used to.
As much as I hate to say it, an added benefit is the muffling of the morning bird song.
For a while, it was just the Robins and Cardinals, who politely wait for sunrise and having cleared their throats a time or two are content to rest a few minutes. Maybe they are tired from having weathered the winter here.
But this week has brought the return of the Northern Orioles and the House Wrens. They do not wait for the sun and seem to have endless energy.
This week has also brought the gentler songs of the warblers. We've seen the Yellow, Blackburnian and Yellow-rumped (better known as butter-butts) in our yard. The songs of the Catbirds and Song sparrows are always welcome. They do not seem to be early risers. An Eastern Phoebe has been feeding in the Redbud trees, but she has been silent. Perhaps she is nesting on the nearby railroad bridge.
I have always wondered why we have never had a nesting pair of Mallards. There is such good habitat, especially when you consider they regularly nest on manicured lawns in the suburbs - miles from water.
This year the prospects look brighter. A pair has been hanging around a log on the shore and periodically in the thick plantings below the lower deck.
They had better disguise the nest well. I've seen a raccoon mom transferring a kit from the smaller to the larger cavities in the big oak near the patio.