Minding my own business at the computer yesterday, the sound of pecking outside the window was enough motivation to go out in the cold to see who, or what, was trying to take the siding off the house. Slowly approaching the pecking sound, now identified as coming from the underside of the deck above the window, something fell down and bounced on the patio, and then a downy woodpecker flew out. The photo above shows one of the several organ pipe mud dauber wasp nests constructed under the deck. You can see the damage the woodpecker has done (to the nests), probably looking for larvae or spiders that the wasps left last fall. Mud dauber wasps tend to be nice to have around, they are not aggressive, eat lots of spiders, and are, in turn, eaten by birds - I've watched bluebirds take wasps on the wing.
Home is 22 acres of land in east central Illinois along the Salt Fork River. We have learned a lot over the past 19 years changing the land from agricultural use (corn and beans) to a variety of native habitats that have become home to many animals, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants. This blog is an attempt to record for ourselves, and share with others, the joys, challenges and frustrations in creating Habitat Home. Our "Managed Earth" and "Climate Change and Wildlife Habitat" posts give some motivational background on why we do these things.