by Doctor Science
This is the nest of an American Phoebe, on the back wall of our single-story house outside the master bedroom:
There are at least 4 nestlings -- it's possible there's another one behind the ivy leaf. I took this picture May 1; they're still there this evening, May 2, but I expect them to leave the nest very soon -- those wings look well-feathered. We're gradually ripping the English Ivy off the house -- it's very invasive and basically eats buildings. I want to plant some Boston Ivy, but hopefully keep it under better control. We'll leave this particular bit of English Ivy for last, though, to keep the Phoebe happy.
Birds I'm pretty sure are nesting in (or have territories that include) our property: Phoebe, American Robin (in the ornamental crabapple, I think), House Finch, Goldfinch, Chickadee (Carolina/Black-capped Hybrid with a *weird* song), Tufted Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Baltimore Oriole (just came in a few days ago, singing up a storm), Wood Thrush (first heard this evening), Red-Tailed Hawk, Great Horned Owl (neither is nesting on our property, but we belong to them), Eastern Towhee. Not sure yet about Blue-Winged Warbler, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Wood Peewee.
Most of the garden needs to be re-done, or done for the first time -- I don't know whose bright idea it was to put in hostas and lilies, but they are both prime deer food. A good deal of the "garden" area is almost bare of soil, the rest needs a lot of amending, and my compost pile isn't nearly there yet. What would those of you who garden recommend to improve rocky clay soils, USDA Zone 6b (lower end -- 7a is creeping up on us)? On the bare areas, is there a "green manure" I can plant now and put into the soil in the fall? As you can may be able to tell from the bird list, we're in the woods, a mixture of mature trees and more recent growth. We're also on a hillside with a LOT of rocks.