A Chickweed Festival for Birds

It was a beautiful morning here, with mist rising from the ponds and a very heavy load of dew, so the grasses and flowers were all shiny. As soon as I went downstairs and sat at my desk, I realized that there are even more birds in the field in front of the house than usual.

Some of the birds I scared off when I walked outside. Mostly starlings, but there’s a meadowlark at left.

The meadowlarks have been all over the fields for weeks now, but I realized that there are also a lot of European starlings, along with some of the red-winged blackbirds that I’ve mostly been hearing and not seeing. The savannah sparrows are also participating (a few white-crowned sparrows are at the edge of the woods, but they don’t like to come out in the middle of the field). Joining the crowds are our breeding pairs of mockingbirds and cardinals. This creates quite a cacophony.

Where I see all the birds. You can see some flying back by the trees. I scared them.

I wondered why there were more birds today than in the past couple of weeks. I put on my Master Naturalist thinking cap and thought there must be some kind of thing for them to eat now that wasn’t there last week.

The male cardinal is in the center. The mockingbirds flew off as I took the picture.

Sure enough, I recalled mentioning to Lee last night that the chickweed was all yellowish and looked like it had gone to seed. Could that be it? The name implies birds like it.

Chickweed in bloom.

So, I went off to search the internet and look at that. I found an article that told me chickweed is not native, but is good to eat for us humans, too. It’s chock full of vitamins and minerals. Most important:

Chickweed is also grown as feed for chickens and pigs, hence its common names clucken wort, chicken weed, and birdseed. Wild birds also love to eat chickweed seeds.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Can You Eat Chickweed – Herbal Use Of Chickweed Plants 

Well, there ya go. I used my brain and got my answer. It looks like I’ll have plenty of bird-watching fun for the next few days, right out my little window. Chickweed is my new friend, and officially a wildflower and NOT a weed (even though I already figured it was).

This is not fascinating, but does show some chickweed seed heads.

Anything exciting going on where you are?


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Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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