Tuesday, May 01, 2007


i cleaned up around the greenhouse, weedwhacking all the grass and other stuff growing right up against it. i have put this off a bit and so was a bit late, as the stuff was up almost two feet. i have an older whacker which i have equipped with heavy duty, uh, weed whacking plastic line. it cuts right on through heavy clumps of almost anything. i started at the door on the north wall and worked westward. turned the corner, and completed the west wall. as i whacked along the south wall, the thickest area because of the sunlight i suppose, i noticed that i had uncovered, and just barely avoided destroying, a nest of some sort. oops. as i leaned down to look and picked it up, i noticed little bodies with grey covering......except on top, where they looked pinkish. double damn triple oops! i scalped or skinned something, probably mice!

(reality check.....robin took this picture the day after the event. this is what i saw, without the open beaks)

but wait. three little bird beaks are opening up and waiting for food. yellow beaks and bright red mouths. live, hungry, healthy junco chicks (birdlings?). pink on top because they haven't even started to grow real feathers. now what, as i have wiped out their hiding place in the weeds.

i wasn't confident of their survival. would the parent birds continue to care for them? how could they survive there in the open? i put some of the whacked grass loosely over them. the next morning when i went out to check on them i saw that the grass over them had been carefully parted, and the chicklets were still vigorous.

so i asked robin "hey, you want to see some baby birds?" she would, and got the camera. she took pictures......and asked why i hadn't said anything yesterday. i confessed that i knew that she would have been quite upset at the possibility that they would die from my interference. she also pointed out that they needed shelter. i scrounged up some chicken wire and made a bit of leanto over the nest and added straw for sunshade. robin brought over a potted blueberry to block one end and added a large plastic plant pot for the other end. a goofy arrangement but the birds have adapted.

juncos fledge quickly. 12 days. they will be done with that brood soon. i'll weed earlier next year.

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