Monday, May 16, 2011

Nesting Instinct

I've spent more hours this spring watching the birds nesting than I've spent watching the 5 part HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce.

The birdwatching was definitely more satisfying.  Mildred Pierce ended so oddly and suddenly.  Maybe hoping for a second season?

I came home after work one day to see this partly-made nest fallen under the tree, and wondered if the wind blew it down.  This could belong to a robin, or a mourning dove, or a cardinal, because all of them were to-ing and fro-ing from the fir bird condo.  I left the nest where it fell, so I could continue to admire the handiwork whenever I walk by.

This year we have a pair of chicadees roosting in the birdhouse.  They come and go lightning quick,  darting in and out of the small hole with admirable precision.  I don't think there are more than a few millimeters to spare, so they must time their entry perfectly for wings-tightly-closed.

And in the cedar, we have cardinals taking over last year's robin nest.  I watched the female for well over an hour, flying in with leaves to plump up the nest.  The cedar branches waving up and down on a windless morning.  The male remained a safe distance behind, standing guard, watching her progress.  I decided to go out and sit, and let the cat out too, just so they'd know the area was inhabited.  But they seemed very focused and undeterred.  I just hope the chicks don't suffer the same fate last year's robins did - plundered by crows.

I look forward to the flash of red of the male cardinal, and yesterday saw 2 males together.  Too territorial to pair,  I realized.  On closer look, they were scarlet tanagers.  They'd flitted in and left after a minute or two.  I stayed staring out for a good 15 minutes but they didn't return... maybe just passing through.  I feel lucky to have caught their brief appearance.
photo credit

1 comment:

Neil and Susan said...

Incredible colour Diane and a great shot. We don't seem to have the colourful birds that land in your garden. We have dainty yellow finches that come each year. Are you getting anxious to get the boat in the water? Fourteen more sleeps for us until she's in. :)