Bird Happenings and Related Matters at Cornerstone Learning Community

>From March 11 - July 16 I have listed 59 bird species in the general environs of Tallahassee's Cornerstone Learning Community (CLC) on Hartsfield Road where bird happenings have included nesting of Great-crested Flycatchers in martin gourds, predation by a snake of a brood of Great-cresteds in a bird house, along with a general increase of bird numbers as fledglings have been added to the avian population.  Erratic rainfall this spring/summer has at times resulted in sufficient water in the retention pond at CLC and 2 "wetlands" south of the campus which has attracted 5 species of herons and egrets including 17 Little Blue Herons (9 immatures) on July 16.

 WHAT A DIFFERENCE WATER MAKES:  CLC is situated on a downward slope at the southern edge of Leon County's Red Hills and hence would seem to be an unlikely location for a school because of erosion during heavy rainfall.  Necessity is the mother of invention, however, and School Coordinator Tony Brown has taken measures which not only deter such erosion but also make effective irrigation use of such rain runoff which otherwise would flow "wasted" downhill via an effluent leading to one of the wetlands mentioned above.

A miniature canal has been created near the school office which directs water to a flower bed and where on July 16 Co-coordinator Betsey Brown happily reported a hummingbird feeding on a red canna bloom outside the window since hanging a hummer feeder there this spring.  Most of the rain runoff has been directed to the western side of the lower school campus which has evolved into a humongous RAIN GARDEN where any number of trees, bushes, flowers, and vegetables have thrived, all of which make for a most enjoyable promenade as one ascends a boardwalk there (and where a Downy Woodpecker likes to forage on a fig tree and where cardinals and House Finches have never had it so good, also where a proud Chanticleer makes daily neighborly visits and adds a touch of "country").

On the eastern side a tempting vegetable garden has been nurtured along a fence on which Scarlet Morning Glories have twined and bloomed - could attract migrating humming birds this fall as well as several species of butterflies.

On July 16 I attended a meeting of Mr. Brown, school naturalist Matt Morris, and other professionals and  interested individuals preliminary to drawing up plans for installation of a retention tank near the boardwalk which would store rainwater to be used for more effective irrigation of the school grounds.  During said meeting a Mississippi Kite circled overhead several times while looking down as if in approval.

CLC is in effect a botanical garden and a laboratory for studies of earth science.  And I continue to look forward to my weekly visits there.  I learn a lot.

Good Birding - Gail E. Menk


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