Saturday, 9:12 pm
As promised, here are a couple of photographs of the bird-nest-in-a-wreath from my front porch. The last I mentioned, there were 4 tiny eggs in the nest. A couple of days later there were 5 eggs in the nest. Now, there are 5 tiny baby birds in the nest. They have all successfully hatched. Mother and father birds are taking good care of their babies.
As you can see, baby birds are not exactly the picture of cuteness. They, in fact, seem to be an undifferentiated mess of fluff and chicken skin. But really, there are 5 baby birds in this nest....this nest that is small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. These babies are tiny! And they are so helpless and dependent on their mother. I felt a little guilty for chasing their mother away to take these photos. They sensed my presence and the one showing the yellow beak was ready to be fed. That one is going to be the first one to fledge, I’ll bet. As soon as I’d taken the photo and gone back in the house, the mother came back. Everyone is doing well.
Just a word about Pepto Bismol, an ad for which I just saw on the teevee....
NOW.....NOW they come out with CHERRY flavored Peptol Bismol??? After making me suffer for an entire lifetime with WINTERGREEN flavored Pepto Bismol? I have hated the flavor of Wintergtreen since I was a kid. And whenever I see that horrible shade of pink I not only think of Pepto Bismol, I can TASTE Wintergreen. It would have all turned out so differently if Pepto Bismol had been Cherry flavored. I swear, it would have.
A noble job
Tuesday, 11:31 am
Outside there hangs a wreath beside my front door. I’m not speedy when it comes to changing my wreaths for the seasons. The one hanging there is a bit wintry, although not Christmasy. I was going to replace it yesterday with something spring-ish, but thought I’d take the cautious approach this year. You may or may not recall that last year I yanked the wreath off the wall and scattered little bird eggs in the process. Yesterday I walked around the wreath and looked for tell-tale signs of a little bird nest. And I found one.
So, I climbed up on the porch railing and peered over into the nest to see what was in it. Four tiny bluish speckled eggs, that’s what’s in it. And the two purple finch parents were hovering in a nearby bush having a shrieking fit. I climbed back down and went back in the house. They calmed down and came back within a couple of minutes.
I missed the wreath exchange date, again. I’m also thinking it might be time to replace the winter wreath. Although I think the little birds are very charming and sweet and I’m glad to provide them a place to build a nest, I’m not too crazy about bringing a well-used nest into the house, to store until next winter, when I have two little birds of my own. So, I think that’s it for my winter wreath. It’s a bit long in the tooth anyway. I hope it does a good job of protecting the baby birds during its last year in service.
Thursday, 8:14 pm
Earlier this week, we had a fierce storm. I didn’t recall hearing that it was a coastal storm exactly, but apparently the waves were massive and the beach erosion was significant. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been watching the beach disappear in huge gouges and chunks after each storm and I know that I’ve speculated here on the blog that it wouldn’t be long before a house would topple over into the ocean. Well, yesterday was the day. The house had a little help, but it’s gone now.
The storm washed the dune out from under the house and the city immediately condemned the house. The woman who owned it was given approximately 10 minutes to remove what personal effects she could carry. Then the house was toppled with heavy machinery. The video below shows the details. There is considerable controversy over the way it was handled, but no one has come up with an idea on how it could have been done better. There really was no way to salvage the house or shore it up. There is simply nothing left on which to build or do any shoring.
I’m quite sure that the woman’s neighbors are terrified. Their houses are sitting on the raw edge of nothing now and one more storm will probably take at least one of them out. This is not a happy Thanksgiving for the homeowner or anyone else out there. Nature is not merciful.
For comparison, this is a photo of the same house that I shot in May of 2002. The photo was cropped a bit—the dunes extended out quite a bit further than the photo indicates. That’s an amazing amount of beach erosion in just 6 years. The storms are becoming much more violent each year. There is absolutely no question about that.
Tuesday, 4:04 pm
As I was sitting here at the dining room table, watching my mourning dove taking her daily drink from the bird bath on my deck railing, a red-tailed hawk swooped down and made off with her.
Yeah, I know a red-tailed hawk has to eat, too, but darn it. I Love my mourning doves. They have only just started coming back after a previous period of being picked off by the hawks. Either I’ll have to find a way to protect the doves from above or I’ll have to try to stop attracting them. It’s just not right to provide a place for them to eat and drink so that they can become someone else’s dinner.
Dobby's new mama
Thursday, 3:57 pm
Dobby has a new mother. Sort of.
For the summer, I’ve placed both Dobby and Lucy next to the sliding glass doors so that they can enjoy a bit of sunshine and fresh air. When the door is open, their chirps and songs apparently carry quite well to the outside. And, recently, this has attracted the attention of a female mockingbird.
Over the last couple of days, the mother mockingbird has taken up a fairly steady residence on my deck railing. She runs back and forth, fluffing her feathers and hollering into the house. On a couple of occasions, she has come right up to the screen door to do her hollering. And every time she hollers, Dobby chirps back at her, which, in turn, sends mama mockingbird into spasms of distress. Mama mockingbird, does the broken wing routine and tries to encourage me to get away from her baby. Oddly enough, however, Lucy’s chirps don’t seem to elicit much response from the mockingbird. Just Dobby’s.
I feel terribly sorry for the mockingbird because she has been utterly frantic for the last couple of days, never going more than a few yards from the deck.
At first, I thought perhaps she had lost one of her own babies somewhere around the deck. I’ve gone out to scour the area, just to make sure. But there are no signs of a mockingbird baby anywhere.
Earlier this afternoon, it became absolutely clear that she is consumed by concerns over Dobby’s safety. Abbie (the cat) and Dobby are friends. Abbie likes to curl up by Dobby’s cage and, quite often, they will press nose to beak through the cage bars. Dobby is very fond of Abbie, as well. The mockingbird doesn’t approve. This afternoon, while Abbie and Dobby were communing, the mockingbird flew off the deck railing and dive bombed the screen door. She screamed at Abbie and scared the poor cat out of her wits. Abbie raced off upstairs to hide under the bed. Mama mockingbird resumed her post on the deck railing, running back and forth, fussing and ruffling her feathers and flapping her wings.
It is one of the strangest things I have ever seen.
Friday, 4:28 pm
Well, I am sad to say that I’ve wrought havoc on a pair of purple finches. Unknown to me, they’d built a nest in a wreath hanging by the front door. I took it down a little while ago to hang something a little more springlike. I brought the wreath inside and a couple of somethings fell out of it. Turned out to be itty bitty eggs. Two smashed on the floor and the third one survived intact. I examined the wreath and found a tiny nest built on the backside. Oh, that made me feel so sad. I put the one egg back in the nest and took the wreath back outside to hang on the wall. The birds were quite anxious, twittering in a tree only several feet from the house.
I’ve been watching since the terrible event and no one is sitting on the nest yet. They’ve both been back to look at the nest, but they haven’t stayed...although hanging around in the general vicinity. I’m afraid they’ll abandon the nest now. It’s been over an hour since either of them have warmed the egg.