Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sparrow Nest, Part 7

It's been a very busy morning at the nest, today. I'm hearing more chirps from the parents, and faint chips from inside the bush. This morning, one baby bird was sitting on a branch outside the nest, while the other was still nestled inside it. As far as I can tell there are two babies. 

The parents do not like the dog. Anytime we let her out, they scold her from the pine trees or the deck rail. Yesterday, poor Dallas was dozing next to the bedroom patio door- on the opposite end of the long deck from where the bush is, and one of them was giving her a real hard time. For everyone's mental well-being (birds, dog, and humans), I took the dog inside. 


The fate of the happy wren family

We had a very strong storm last week and our wren box fell off its string. I knew it would have been abandoned but didn't think to check it until the other day. When I picked it up, one tiny egg fell out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sparrow Nest, Part 6

The babies eyes are open now.  Here's Mama scolding me for being out on the deck.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sparrow Nest, Part 5

A couple days ago the babies hatched! We had a huge storm on Thursday night and I was worried about the nest. But Mama was still there Friday, and by Saturday there were fuzzy babies, clumsily lifting their heads, mouths open for food. It was the first time I heard Mama chirp, too, as she tsk-ed me away from her nest. I also found out she is the tan variety.

Here's a close-up of her on the nest, and one of her in the tree foraging and scolding me for being too close. Poor Mama.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Our little white-throated sparrow population

It seems we have quite the population of white throated sparrows. While mama sat on her nest, there was a handful of the birds squabbling in a nearby tree. Others scouted the ground for food, one checked out the kids' water table, and a white-striped variety kept returning to our feeder.  

Tan variety hidden among the mulch.

This one hopped right into the water table.

White-striped variety.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sparrow Nest, Part 4

The more I research these white-throated sparrows, the more exciting watching this whole process is! There are two color variations in this type of bird: black-white head stripes, and tan stripes. Male and female can come in either color variety yet they often choose a mate of opposite color of their own. There are a few behavioral differences between the two colors as well, which is detailed at the National Audubon Society's website. This is totally fascinating to me!

I've seen both the white and tan bird at our feeder, and I'm still not sure which is the female. The mama sits on the nest but it's too shady in the bush for me to tell what her color markings are. That poor mama has seen me peek on her nest so many times in the last few days she doesn't even bother flitting off to hide anymore. (I feel a little guilty about this. Hopefully I don't compromise anything!)

I found another egg this morning, bringing the count to four.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sparrow Nest, Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

This morning when I checked there were three eggs on the nest. I didn't try to take a picture since mama sparrow was sitting on the nest and I startled her. Every time I've walked by today there's been someone in the nest, so I wonder if mommy is done laying and the eggs are ready to incubate.

I did see the tell-tale striped head, so my theory that they are white-throated sparrows still holds.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Busy little wrens

Once again the wrens have made their home in the wooden bird house my aunt made. They've been very busy this week and I think I've heard tiny baby bird chatter! If this is the same pair that's been here all season, they are quite a resilient family. They had to put up with 2 1/2 weeks of landscapers dredging, digging, chugging, churning, and stomping right through their front yard. Then there were 2 days of shed builders, the dog who likes to lie nearby, kids playing... I'm surprised they've made it this far, and thankful we have something fun to watch out our backdoor!

Sparrow Nest, Part 2

Yesterday, I found one egg, and today there were two! I did some research and I think this nest might belong to white-throated sparrows. I've seen a few at the feeder this week, and I've heard their calls around the yard. If this is the case, we may get a few more eggs and see babies in a couple weeks if we haven't scared them off by then. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sparrow Nest, Part 1

Monday, July 4: Noticed some activity in a bush in our backyard. Rustling branches, chirps, and flits. I noticed a nest had been built but couldn't tell who did it.

Wednesday, July 6: Found one speckled egg!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Woodpecker Drill-Holes

One of the coolest things I've seen this year! The woodpeckers love this tree.

It's almost spring!

It's almost spring and the birds were busy today. Can you see the nuthatch pecking away at a hole in this tree? And nearly a year ago, I "birdserved" this very spot!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My heart soars with the waxwings

It wouldn't be mid-February without a visit from the cedar waxwings. Oh, were they lovely, elegantly swooping from tree to tree as a flock, their distinct chirps filling the air.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Just Hanging Out

I made these bird seed cakes at Christmas and had a few extras. They've been hanging outside for a few weeks and the chickadees finally found them! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Goldfinch Gang

Recently the goldfinches found the feeders. When they come, it's usually in a big group of about six (three males and three females). 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sugar High

A pair of tiny hummingbirds buzzed around our flowering bush (a rhododendron, I think) tonight. The male stopped by first and a few minutes after he left the female showed up. I'm happy to have caught a few photos- they move so quickly!

Dear Robin

Dear Robin,

Oh, sweet bird, how exciting it was to come home from a weekend away to find your perfect bowl of a nest, tastefully decorated with long tendrils of grass, placed just so in the tree outside the window. I knew you were going to build it right there when I saw you nervously perched on that branch a few days ago. I wasn't sure you'd like the location, being so near the window of a child's bedroom, but I've also seen worse places to build. And I'm sure you were in a hurry to get those eggs laid.

So imagine my sadness when, just moments after I noticed your lovely nest, I also noticed a splotch on the window pane- sure evidence that you or your loving partner smashed into that window on your way home. Where did you go then, sweet bird? I did not find your lifeless body on the grass below but there has also been no recent activity in your nest.

I do hope you've been so busy eating and preparing that you haven't time to be in your nest much. It would be so fun to be able to watch you raise your babies this spring. And if your spirit has flown to better places (where there are no tricky mirror-like windows), I pray you did not suffer long on this earth and that your partner can move on to make a family with someone else.

Much love,


PS- In case you're still out there, I will put the window cling up there so you won't make the same mistake twice.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Some new friends

We bought some new bird seed and have a few new visitors trying it out. This morning one blue jay ate while another nestled into a tree branch nearby.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A fine morning

The forecast calls for a beautiful spring day today and it seems the birds are very excited about this. Barking robins, playful crows, quick chickadees, and a couple of hairy woodpeckers all graced my backyard. 

A tiny house

High atop this tree a tiny bird crawled into a tiny hole. Can you see where?