Thursday, August 10, 2006

What We've Learned So Far This Summer

This is going to be a short post!

We always thought that all birds nested in spring. In fact, we never thought much about it. It was one of those unarticulated assumptions about life. Then we moved to the country and learned that some birds produce more than one clutch in a season. Some birds nest quite late in summer. A voracious flock of American Goldfinch have descended on our bird feeder over the past few days. They're nesting now when thistle has gone to seed.

These Dark-eyed Junco babies were born at the end of July. Our neighbor called (the one who always alerts us to the most wonderful wildlife happening outside her windows!) and said, "Come over and bring your camera." She met me by a small juniper tree on our property boundary, and spread the tree limbs to show me this:
Baby Juncos
We learned that even the smallest babies can make it. When I looked closely at the photo I realized that there were four babies in the nest, and not three. I could not imagine that little one on the left would survive. It was so small. Its mouth was hardly noticeable compared to its sibling's. I wondered how a mother would pay attention to such a small and wizened thing.
Four Junco babies a week later
Yet there they were a week later, all four of them. I went over and looked in on them. They stared back at me like I was a giant alien. They did not register alarm, but mere curiosity at this monstrosity staring in at them. I checked in on them on yesterday. The nest was empty.

My twin brother has a pair of nesting doves in a hanging potted plant on his porch. He watches them from his living room window. He called me the other day to say that he thought too much time had passed, that neither of the two eggs in the nest would hatch. He asked me to check when he had sent us the first email about the eggs, so we could calculate how much time had elapsed. Was it really too late? It certainly seemed to be.
But it wasn't too late for this one. This beautiful baby dove hatched not long after our commiserating conversation. It obviously had not read all the books about when it should arrive.

There's really a lot to learn, isn't there? We like leaving it up to these little ones to teach us. (Click on all the photos to see these babies. They're very cute.)

No comments:

Post a Comment