Sunday, September 30, 2012
Day Six, August 20, 2012. The baby indigo buntings have learned to hide from me, scrunching down into the nest cup when they hear me approach. I'm not thrilled with this shot so I try another.
That's better. Look at those feather quills on wings and scapular (shoulder) tracts. They're so thin-skinned, so vulnerable, so warm. Eyes are slit open on this day 6, August 20, 2012.
Hey, lady. Got a grasshopper? I'd take a spider. Caterpillar, better yet. Oh little sweetheart. Wish I did. You know I'd give it to you.
I get a momentary lurch in my stomach when I look at this shot, wondering if perhaps we've all been duped...with its bald head, this isn't a brown-headed cowbird, is it? But no. Cowbirds have a bright red gape and white flanges, while indigo buntings have a dark orange gape with yellow flanges. And cowbirds tend to have more speckling on their eggs, while these had just a few freckles on a light blue ground. They're indigo buntings. Whew. Still, in natural history, it always pays to question one's assumptions with each step you take.
I'm always glad to see Mrs. Piper take five at the Spa, in between her endless flights from meadow to nest, meadow to nest.
I've got to think that our yard is the premium nesting territory for miles around, with all the second growth, the old fields, jillions of orthopterans, and the clean bubbly water source. Sorry about the paparazzo, though, catching the Duchess topless from time to time. Goes with the Riviera real estate.
Obviously, a good place to raise kids. This is Day 7. Eyes wide open, feathers beginning to burst their sheathes.
Yes, I said eyes wide open. They alternate peeking at the lens.
These little imps, they have stolen my heart. Praying that they make it to fledging. It's a rough world out there, and they're only 2 1/2 feet off the ground. But I'm watching over them, listening from the nearby studio all day for the slightest disturbance, the smallest cheep of alarm. So far so good. Only about three days in the nest left to go!
Grow! Grow! Grow!
Posted by Julie Zickefoose at 6:41 AM