Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wrensday: Catalpa cycle of life

We have two unusual trees on our property that keep life interesting around here. 

The tree is called a Catalpa tree.

In the spring, the tree leafs out quickly and presents us with beautiful flowers.  You can smell the flowers all around the yard.

But then, just when summer is in full swing . . .

they arrive and devour every leaf in sight.

Yes, I'm talking about the Catalpa Sphinx Moth worms.

They love the leaves on this tree and can defoliate one tree in a matter of 48 hours.

All that's left are the little seed pods that hang down, lonely swaying in the breeze.

But, just when we think all hope is lost, our hero comes to the rescue. 

The Yellow Billed Cuckoo eats these worms like they are candy. 

He grabs a worm in his beak and thrashes it back and forth before consuming it whole.

We know he has arrived when his familiar kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk call is heard.

We always hear him but rarely see him.

After the last of the worms is eaten our poor Catalpa trees grow new leaves but won't flower again until next Spring when the cycle starts all over again.

I'm linking to :


  1. I always find it amazing what those pesty worms can do. Thanks goodness for your birds!

  2. That is amazing that the tree can come back from that much damage and look so good afterward--yay for the birds!

  3. Just stoppin' by from TGP. I have heard catalpa worms are good for fishing! Beautiful pics!!
    a Latte with Ott, A

  4. OK, you've taught me something new! Never knew this before. Isn't nature amazing/

    Thanks for linking to the TGP!

  5. I have heard about the Catalpa worms but never saw them in action. Living in the west, we have Catalpa trees, but no worms. I guess we are lucky huh.


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