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Indigo Bunting Nest-Part Four

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Indigo buntings, Day 8 in the morning. They're looking pretty reptilian, but they have brown back and wing feathers bursting the sheathes all over, so I feel confident there will be a transformation coming soon. Technically, these babies could fledge at any time. Amazing, I know, to think of this mostly-naked prickly little thing leaving the nest, but you have to grasp just how dangerous it is to stay in the nest to appreciate why that might be a good thing to do.

Day 8 in the afternoon. I know they'll be going soon, and I can't resist documenting the changes over the next few hours. You can see by their eyes that they're wise to me. I do love this shot and am glad I got it.

Oh, you dear little things. Thank you for facing around. I needed that goggle-eyed stare for our afternoon salon.

The garage garden as it looked this summer. Tall and wild. I never got a chance to prune the roses before they formed buds, well before the forsythia got going. Whew, what a wild spring it was! The cardinal mosaic in the foreground was a gift from a dear couple for whom I rehabilitated a titmouse whose wing their cat had injured. He's the titmouse in The Bluebird Effect, whose chapter is entitled "Nobody Can Cuss Like a Titmouse." Unlike about 90% of cat casualties, he went on to live and eat more peanuts. A small miracle, one I was more than happy to assist.

Behind that is my beloved rain barrel, which collects all the water for my freshwater Amazon tank and then, once the fish have used it, my orchids. Then some roses, and the hibiscus is behind the roses near the curve in the sidewalk.

Oh boy. Day 9, 8/23/12. These babies are ready, Eddie. Giving me the hairy eyeball they are. I am skeert to get any closer for a better shot. They might explode.

Thanks to their bald heads and protruding eyes, they're still looking startlingly like young cowbirds, but are about half the size of a nine-day old cowbird. Wish the camera had chosen the birds instead of the leaf to focus on, but that's too bad. I'm not going any closer. Still, you can see that their feathers have mostly erupted, and they are now equipped with some insulation, which they're going to need more once they're out and hopping. Flying really isn't in the cards for a few more days. They'll flutter-hop and clamber, that's what they'll do.

I do believe it's going to happen tomorrow. We tiptoe around the nest in the evening, as we're eating dinner right nearby on the picnic table. Please, no whiffleball or Frisbee tonight.

On that...I'm often asked why birds choose to nest in high (human) traffic areas. Unfortunately, most people conclude it's because the birds are stupid, or haven't somehow noticed that people tromp up and down that sidewalk all day. I wondered, for instance, about the robin who plopped her nest in the bird's nest blue spruce right next to the loudspeaker at Marietta's drive-through McDonald's. WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO SUPERSIZE THAT SIR?? At first blush, it looked like a big DUH on her part. But guess what? Her babies all fledged. Into a parking lot, but she got them out of there to some trees. Time to think again. Birds like that robin and Mrs. Piper deliberately choose these areas because they're too heavily traveled for raccoons and snakes to want to go there. Same goes for the Carolina wren in your hanging basket, and for the phoebe on your porch light, the one who flies off and scolds every time you open the door. 

She wants you there. 

So when a bird nests in a place that's inconvenient for you, or where you think she might be subject to too much disturbance, carry on business as usual. Water that hanging basket to the side of the nest, but don't stop watering it. Relax. Know that she chose the site for a good reason and is willing to accept the disturbance in exchange for protection from predators. 

Birds are never, ever clueless. Well, the three domestic mallards I have to stand on my brakes for every morning may qualify. But wild birds aren't.  



What are the yellow things on the side of their beaks? This is a great blog...
I can't wait for more.

"Birds are never, ever clueless." Truer words were never spoken. I had never thought about this aspect of where they select their nest sites. I am loving this series Julie!

Kathy in Delray Beach

"...the phoebe on your porch light, the one who flies off and scolds every time you open the door." That's exactly where the phoebes were nesting when we moved into a new home this summer. We so enjoyed their presence!

The baby bird is so cute!

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