Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bird Update

Well, the baby birds grew very, very quickly! We were able to sneak a few more peeks at them here and there and watched them grow feathers and get pretty large! We also watched the mama bird, along with another thrasher (the daddy bird, perhaps?) , bringing food to the nest tirelessly for several days. They were very devoted.

We did manage to get these photos through a team effort... Chris took the pictures while I danced and waved my arms like a lunatic while standing between him and the mother bird, who was perched in our fig tree. I am pretty sure she was greatly angered by my defense tactics!

Here they are, about to not fit in the nest anymore! It was interesting to note that they always sat facing out with their heads resting on he rim of the nest.

A close-up showing their feathers a little better... although the focus isn't just right. The branches in front of the nest interfered with getting a well-focused shot, along with the rush of wanting to tke the photos as quickly as possible!

Here is mama bird, nicely puffed up as she attempts to distract us from her nest. She was scolding and hopping around.

I am pretty sure she's giving us the evil eye here...

Well those photos were taken a couple days ago. The next day, the babies were gone!! Just... vanished! Without a trace! I am thinking they must have been able to fly away already... although they were only 10-12 days old, which seems young to me (but I know nothing about birds, so...). The weird thing is that the mother bird still thought they were there for a day or so... at least, she acted like they were still there because she was hanging around and having her typical spaz attack every time we came near the bush where the nest is located. But as of yesterday, she had left the area and has been seen in some other bushes on the opposite side of the yard. Could she have moved the babies somehow if they were not old enough to fledge??? Maybe some brown thrasher research is in order!

Of course, the other possibility is that a cat got them. I am less likely to think this is the case since the nest is intact and in perfect condition, and there are no feathers scattered around or anything. It doesn't look like the bush was disturbed in any way. Also, we have been home almost around the clock this week and the bush is right outside a window... we probably would have heard something based on how protective the adult birds have been!

But, speaking of the cats... I mentioned in my earlier bird post that some birds of another species have been dive-bombing our neighbors' cats. The cats don't like this and run off, which makes it seem like a successful strategy on the part of the birds. But there is one cat who I haven't even seen around much, but in the last two weeks, he has been in our yard at some point every single day. And the birds do not faze him. He just walks along as the birds repeatedly swoop down and ram into his rear end. He doesn't even pause or look back at them. I think this is what he was after yesterday:

Again, apologies for the poor focus. this is another nest, located in a tall bush at the edge of our yard near our garden. You can make out the black beak and a bit of the eye of the bird sitting in the nest. The cat was headed straight into this bush when I shot the video below (you'll have to be patient with it - the best view of the bird attacking the cat is toward the end of the video):

So, if anyone knows anything about birds... leave a comment! Could our babies have flown away already?


mel said...

Well, I don't know how long it takes birds to leave either...not sure what happened to yours. Seems weird that they would all leave at the same time too. But then again, my cats occassionally get a bird, and well, they never actually *eat* it. We find evidence,,,usually when John cuts the grass. They got a blue jay a few weeks ago. :( Dumb cats.

MightyMom said...

there were mockingbirds that would dive bomb my dad's cat all the time.

She couldn't care less either.

Dad shot at the birds with a bebe gun trying to scare them away....and actually hit one!

I laughed and asked if he'd read "To Kill a Mockingbird" lately.