Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Birds of My Backyard

Mama swallow guarding her young yesterday, in my backyard

After breakfast this morning I joined Bill on the back deck to enjoy the early morning breeze and watch the backyard bird activity.  This year we didn't have a problem with the sparrows invading the bluebird house like we did last year.  The bluebirds have already raised one batch of baby bluebirds and are working on the second batch now.  The swallows just hatched their batch (see the above picture "Mom" warning me away from her nestlings).

In previous years I've also had a problem with the sparrows invading the Purple Martin house.  I was very pleased to see that I didn't have that problem this year.  I lost count of the amount of sparrow's nest that I tore out of the Purple Martin house and the number of brown speckled sparrow eggs I tossed into threw into the adjoining cornfield.  I hated to do that but I had no choice.  I draw the line at destroying baby sparrows though.  Once they're hatched, they're free.  I leave them alone.

So I thought I was getting off free this year without the invasion of non-native species of birds.  Ha!  Bill hands me his binoculars and says "Take a look", pointing to the Purple Martin house.  And what did I see? A mama starling feeding her young!  I couldn't believe it.  Starlings are too big to get into the Purple Martin house slots.  This one got in.  Incredible.  Well, there's nothing I can do about it now.  They look like they're about to come out.  I'll check the apartment after they leave.  I wouldn't be surprised if there are dead Purple Martin babies in there.  That's what starlings do you know, they kill the other birds then lay their eggs on top of them.  Same with the sparrows.  I've seen it first hand.

Starlings and sparrows are non-native species of birds that will be discouraged from nesting in my backyard.  It's a constant challenge.  I thought I got away free this year, apparently not.  Well, at least the bluebirds were able to lay two batches of eggs this year, unlike last year when the battle with the sparrows prevented that from happening.

I look at the life in my backyard as a microism of life in general.  Things appear to be going smooth until someone else comes in and takes over, destroying all in its path.  There won't be anymore starlings in that Purple Martin house, I'll see to that.

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