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Anticipation of the upcoming seasons creates the groundwork that keeps the farmer on track.

Amongst the many changes that remind us of the upcoming spring is the return of our many feathered friends. The varieties of birds that choose to make a stop by Erickson Ranch to raise their latest generations are the Blue Birds, Wood Ducks, House – Finches , Owls, Ring-neck Doves and the Barn Swallows . The air is filled with the sounds of each bird from the first rays of sunlight through the sunset of evening.

Several years ago the local Boy Scout troop made a variety of bird houses for the ranch. Our favorite has been the Blue Bird Box. We placed it high on a telephone pole that we can view from the kitchen window. It took a year but box has been in use every year like clock- work. Their magnificent blue color is almost explosive as the sun reflects on their feathers. The entrance or opening of the box is a very specific size that prevents other species of birds from entering and disturbing the growing family. Once the family is grown the Blue Birds are gone until the following season.

We have a new guest on the front porch this spring. Ray noticed that each time he went on the side porch a small house finch would nervously fly away. We have several potted plants on a shelf in the general area of the bird. He said, “You will never believe this”. As I stood on the chair next to the shelves and gently peeked into the flower pot, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The female finch had proceeded to built a lovely nest and fill it with 3 beautiful light blue eggs. We will quietly watch her raise her young and keep the nest as a reminder of her visit to the ranch.

Porch Finch

Porch Finch

The Wood Ducks return each and every year. Their boxes were specifically built by the California Waterfowl Association. These boxes were strategically placed along the banks of the Suisun Valley Creek which flows adjacent to the Ranch. Like clock-work, the Wood Ducks return, lay a large clutch of eggs and it seems just as quickly they hatch and leave the “nest”.

For years the swallows have returned to Erickson Ranch. We have had the pleasure of watching a family of swallows set up housekeeping in one of our original buildings we call, “the Cabin”. The building has been on the property since its’ purchased by the Erickson family in 1958.

Swallow Cabin

Swallow Cabin

We watch with delight as the swallows build their nest and raise their young, right before our eyes. They spend the summer and one day during the fall they are gone. It is as though a signal spreads through their community and off they go.

The more attention we pay to the nature surrounding us the more we realize how fortunate we are to be part of the mix. We will continue to provide the environment that our feathered friends have come to expect from us each and every year.

Victoria and Raymond Erickson