Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Relief







The cool breeze of this morning's air was a welcome relief for the oppressive heat of yesterday. For the past three days heat and humidity laid its heavy hand on this coastal plain of eastern Delaware, with the temperatures reaching 101 degrees yesterday. Summer doesn't officially begin until next week but the Dog Days of August have already descended on this flat land. For the past few days, at high noon, traffic remained light as weary travelers seek relief to escape the suffocating temperatures. Yesterday I checked the Determined Sparrow bird box. The baby sparrows are still in there but only one weakly raised it head . Its beak was open for food, but no sound emanated from it. No movement from the other baby sparrows. This is the same bird box that five baby sparrows drowned during the Nor'easter of last month, just as they were a getting ready to leave their nest. I also checked the bluebird house. Five blue eggs were neatly arranged in a neat nest (in contrast to the haphazard hastily thrown together nature of the sparrow's nest). With the cool and gentle breezes of this early morning accompanying me, I walked over to check the bluebird house. A bluebird darts out of the house just as I take a few steps towards it. At the box, I stand to the side and give it a few light taps. It is important to stand to the side so the bird exiting the box doesn't fly right into me. Nothing. I slowly open the door. What I see is a baby bird naked without its feathers. Obviously this young bluebird just broke out of it shell this morning. Four blue eggs remain, probably to hatch today. My partner told me that he has seen a pair of bluebirds fighting off the starlings yesterday. No doubt they were after the bluebird eggs. However, they can't get to them because the opening of the bluebird box is too small. We will continue to monitor the bluebird box to make sure there are no unwelcome guests. While doing so, we will keep our interference to a minimum so as not to disturb the bluebirds raising their new young. I was concerned that the bluebirds had abandoned their nest. It seemed to me that those bluebird eggs have been there longer than it took both pairs of Determined Sparrows to build their nests several times over, and hatch their young. I am relieved the bluebird eggs are hatching. I'm also relieved that the smothering heat and humidity of the past few days has left us and gone elsewhere. Life is good.

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