Thursday, July 22, 2010

Staples Ducklings, Thresherman Sandhill Cranes, and The Feeder

The next day, I went back to check on Wily Hen and her ducklings. I turned the corner and almost choked, "Oh no!" Someone had come and chopped down the vegetation. Okay at least it was mowed flat, but still. Are the ducklings okay?

And upon closer inspection there she was, alive and well, complete with all ten ducklings.

And how is everyone else?

Over at Thresherman's Park, there is a family of Sandhill Cranes gleaning the oat field. This time there are two juveniles.

Doorstep and Friend Mourning Dove have done it again. Successfully raised a nest of three youngsters instead of just the usual two.

Female Cottontail Rabbit, mother of Jolly Bunny, has taken to doing a little gleaning herself under the far feeder most mornings. By the way, Jolly Bunny is doing well, I just haven't gotten a decent shot of him lately.

The newest brood of squirrels is doing what they usually do--chase each other.

There must be at least 10 Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrels living in the yard. It's been a very good year for them. One of these days I expect to look out and see a Red-tail stealthily sitting in a tree waiting for one to scoot by.

And yes, the Chipping Sparrows have raised a passel of Cow Birds.

One of the advantages a young Cowbird has is its incredibly loud and insistent begging.

Over the past few days I've noticed that when a Chipping Sparrow is feeding a young Cowbird at the feeder, the other young Cowbirds tend to show up and eat at the same time, though feeding themselves.

And there are a whole lot of young Cowbirds. I'd begun to think that the pairs of Chipping Sparrows hadn't managed to raise even one of their own species.

But look at the bird on the right in the foreground. See the streaked belly and dark stripe through the eye?

Here is a closer shot. Our bird on the right is definitely a juvenile Chipping Sparrow. So the Chippies did manage at least one of their own this season.
And the Goldfinch are all in fine feather getting ready to raise their single brood of the season. They only nest when there is thistle down to line their nests. What a fascinating adaptation. Why? What could possibly be the reason? Is it because that when the down is mature, that also means the thistle seeds are ready to eat and there will be plenty of food for the youngsters?
Donegal Browne