The pond near the Eco Ag Center is coming alive again after a long, cold spring. Baltimore orioles, red-winged black birds, tree swallows, bluebirds, and at least 30 other songbirds have been seen or heard there recently.
The great blue heron has been fishing along with some human neighbors at the dock. The community and pollinator gardens are greening up and starting to have early flowers. Sowing seeds and weeding has begun in earnest again. A snapping turtle was sighted away from the pond, probably finding a place to lay her eggs.
And this year, I noticed a new addition to the pond - a small lodge made out of sticks and grass in the middle of the cattail area. I wondered what creature made it and if they were still living there. It looked like a beaver lodge, but it was smaller and I hadn't seen any sign of beaver chews (stumps with pointed tops and teeth marks) around. And there wasn't a dam either.
So what could have built this cozy home? I asked the other gardeners if they had seen any animals around that might live there and sure enough, they told me about seeing a muskrat swimming in the water. When I got back to the office, I looked up some information on how to tell the difference between a muskrat and a beaver lodge. It turned out to be a muskrat home!