The miller moth invasion seems to be getting an early start this year. Though their exodus from the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains usually peaks along the Front Range in mid June, a fair number have been turning up in our Littleton house and avian activity on the farm suggests that they are beginning to arrive.
Western wood pewees and willow flycatchers have been active through the day and a few western tanagers have been making sorties as well. Overhead, squadrons of tree and barn swallows are strafing the treetops and, close to the ground, non-flycatchers such as blue jays, house wrens and house sparrows have been chasing down the moths. Though not evident during the day, a variety of mammals, including bats, shrews, skunks, raccoons and bears may feast on these nutritious travelers as well.
While I'm not looking forward to finding dozens of miller moths in the house each morning, they clearly play an important role in the natural food chain. After all, their annual trek has been occurring long before we humans turned up and built house traps.