Sunday, June 22, 2008

Empty Nest







The Determined Sparrow nest is empty. They're out! I hear the new young'uns loudly chirping in my neighbor's Leyland Cypress trees that border the now empty sparrow nest. Yesterday I cleaned out the nesting material and gave the birdhouse a good scrub. I kept the door opened the rest of the afternoon so the cedar wood could dry out. The blue bird nest is still occupied, although getting more crowded each day. Mom and Pop bluebird can't get in the house now to feed their young, they have to perch on the opening outside and put their beak holding the latest morsel through the round hole opening in the bird house. As the picture shows, the baby bluebirds' feathers are starting to take a blue hue. They are so quiet, unlike the baby sparrows who were vociferous whenever I touched their birdhouse, thinking I was their parents with more food for their ever expanding appetites. Occasionally I see an inquisitive grackle perched on top of the bluebird house, but they are quickly dive bombed and chased away by Mom and Pop bluebird. I'm surprised at how slow the baby bluebirds are developing compared to the baby sparrows. I think that the baby bluebirds were born first. It took only a week or ten days for the baby sparrows to go from five brown speckled eggs to five more Determined Sparrows unleashed upon the world. Ironically, the bluebird house in between these other two bird houses, has remained unoccupied during this whole raising of new baby birds. It was my intention to create a backyard habitate when I moved in here in November of 2006 and I must say I am pleased with the progress that has been made. My backyard has robins, catbirds, barn swallows, Purple Martins, sparrows, bluebirds, and even a visit the other day by a group of golden finches (who were probably en route to another destination and just stopped by for a quick pick-me-up of a bath in one of my five bird baths and a tasting of my many seeded plants). On the periphery of my property I have let the grass go to seed. The sight of the gently waving grain reminds me of what our country's Great American Prairie must have looked like before the White Man; during his great move westward, killed all the Buffalo and changed our country's once vast grasslands to settlements and ranch land for cattle and sheep. In this one small, less than an acre plot in Sussex County, I have created a little bit of heaven for some of nature's creatures. One surprise guest that is making the most use of my flowers and bird baths are the honey bees. I don't know where they're coming from but they are almost always at my bird baths, taking a sip of water or on the many flowering plants I have that border my back yard. Im going out now and refresh the birdbaths and check on the progress of the baby blue birds. I hope they don't grow so much that they get stuck in their bird box.

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