Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Garage Boy Robin, Baby Sparrows, and a Clutch of Mourning Doves

3:05:34pm As some of you may remember, I've been waiting for Garage Boy the fledgling Robin to vacate the garage. This has gone on for some days. Mom and Dad have been delivering tasty worms to the rafters and Garage Boy has been idyllically happy. I have not been idyllically happy because I don't want to accidentally squash Garage Boy with the car, or lawn mower, or other machines of Baby Robin destruction that lurk in garages. To say nothing of the fact that Chewy the Chipmunk has total access to all the bird seed in the world, well his world anyway, with the garage door open.

Therefore when I heard lusty vocalizations from a parent to a Robin chick that sounded further away than the usual of the last few days, looked out, and was pleased to see Garage Boy standing in the front yard with Dad.

3:06:02pm Dad took off around the corner to the backyard. G.B. gave me a look and then scrambled off after him.

3:06:28pm I watched as the two of them headed for the garden and it's freshly cultivated, moist, and wormie soil. At last G. B. was going to get some training in nightcrawler nabbing and I was going to be able to close the garage door. As to Chewy, he'll have to make do with the pound or so a day of seed he stuffs into his cheek pouches under the bird feeder.

3:52:24pm I noticed several sparrows sitting quite still in an evergreen in the park. In fact, one appeared to be napping.

3:52:37pm Aha! It's a nursery and here comes Mom. She went back and forth several times scrupulously feeding each chick in succession, no matter that one kept trying to jump his turn.

3:54:02pm Then she noticed me, sat between me and the chicks, and stared until I left. Yesterday I'd seen, or at least thought I'd seen, it wasn't much more than a quick glance before it fled, a juvenile Mourning Dove on the picnic table and wondered if it could be one belonging to Doorstep Dove and Friend. Since the Cooper's Hawk has made things more dangerous in the area, the bird parents have been keeping their chicks much more hidden than they did last season.

7:53:00pm Therefore today when I looked out, there was no question, this was definitely a young Mourning Dove fledgling. In fact a very young fledge, see the speckles on her breast? And typically there is no blue skin around the eyes yet.

7:54:12pm Then a minute late, lo and behold, here came another from under the picnic table. No speckles so the slightly older sibling of the first one but of the same clutch. They both pecked seeds very nicely without them falling back out of their beaks. They'd learned well and I hadn't even seen them yet. Very sneaky. They padded around eating for an hour.

9:01:30pm Then I walked past the door too rapidly and my movement made them crouch and freeze.

9:01:37pm And here's one of this season's tiny baby bunnies. The doves have been here for awhile where are their parents? Duh, why not look where Doorstep and Friend traditionally sit to watch over their young.

9:05pm And there he is in the Maple tree, keeping watch. When startled a young Mourning Dove freezes. If this is the wrong reaction for whatever the danger might be, the sentinel parent will take off from his perch and then that is the cue for the young ones to take off as well. Where is Doorstep?

9:12pm Then to my amazement, another Mourning Dove fledgling toddled into view. It's quite rare, but every now and again Mourning Doves lay three eggs. This season it looks like not only did Doorstep lay three eggs but she and Friend managed to rear all three as well. Excellent job.
Still no Doorstep, but having laid three eggs, brooded them, and dealt with three nestlings, I'm betting that Doorstep has been having the pleasure of going to roost early these days and letting Friend take the late shift.


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