Monday, June 15, 2009

We have baby birds!

A brown thrasher (our state bird) has made its nest in a bush outside our den window (the one with the window seat). A little over a week ago, Chris noticed that there was an egg in the nest... then a second egg the next day, and so on until there were four eggs. The mother bird was sometimes sitting on them when we peeked at the nest, but usually she was in a nearby tree and would begin scolding us when she noticed we were near.

Yesterday, Chris peeked and saw that the baby birds had hatched! They are just tiny little things with a bit of grey feathery fuzz. According to Caroline, "They lay in a heap." That's pretty accurate, I'd say...

Tonight, Chris went out to water the garden and told me that the baby birds were awake with their mouths wide open. So I went out with the camera a few minutes later, but they were already back in a heap, sleeping. The mother bird was nowhere in sight, but I heard her begin scolding from a faraway tree... and then five seconds later, whoosh!! She had flown only inches from me, over my shoulder, and into the next bush over, where she continued making a racket and hopping around, hoping to distract me from her babies. Well, she scared me half to death, so I think these may be the last of the photos of the baby birds... at least for awhile!

Before the eggs had hatched, the mother bird would also attempt to distract us whenever we peeked at her nest. She would fly into the nearby fig tree and squawk and hop around in the branches as if taunting us. Very interesting to see a mama bird following her animal instincts! She definitely knew to try to keep us away from her babies... good mama bird, even if it was pretty dumb of her to build her nest so close to the ground!

Here she is after dive-bombing me tonight... she sat scolding me in this faraway tree, glad that she was distracting me from the babies!

Edited to add: The birds have been interesting this spring... below is a picture taken a few weeks ago of our neighbor's cat after being dive-bombed by another bird... not a thrasher. Not sure what kind of bird it is, but it is aggressive! I have seen it go after two cats and follow another one across the street, scolding it loudly. If you look at the top right corner of the photo, you can see the bird as it swoops back up into the air. The cat is doing a funny little surprised hop - she didn't expect to have a bird swoop down and peck at her!

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