Tag Archives: robin

The time of the fledglings

In addition to the local young woodpecker, who continues to flop around the house with no fear and seems to never get more than five feet off the ground, I found this little guy on our path.

I surprised the whole family, I suppose, as there were three full size robins flapping around in the trees, panicking and screeching.  The chick, size of a guinea chick, let me walk right up.

It doesn´t seem to have a lot of lift.  It seemed a big achievement to make it up on the stick pile, and then it flap flap flap! Coasted down into the field.  I wonder if this is the first day out of the nest. 

 

There´s a woodpecker zooming backing and forth from in front of the beehive to over the poplars behind the pigs.  She´s as regular as a transatlantic flight and obviously is tending a nest at one end of the flight path, or the other.

Meanwhile, back in the livestock zone:

It´s a pig´s life.  The pigs are happy to lounge in the shade. 

The Oreo mom insists on being inside the pig fence.  She´s mastered jumping up and through, where the holes in the fence are bigger, while the babies flow right through.

She´s out there now, smack in the middle of pigland.  She found a shady spot she likes.

I guess the pigs have proved that they won´t hurt her or her chicks.  At least she´s not worried.  They are 15´away sleeping off a big meal of milk  in the pig house.

Now I can´t electrify the fence if she´s making a habit of this.  Which is ok.  The fence is off more often than on these days.  The pigs and I have an agreement.  If I meet all their needs, they are perfectly content to stay in the fence.  Which means they are really in charge.  They´re simple girls, though.  They want shade, water – poured in the bowl and over their heads, variety, food before they get too hungry, and sometimes a scratch.

Funny how the birds make decisions.  Or is it the chicks?  Oreo mom has been all independent and  furtive, always hiding in shrubs and drifting out into the pasture, towards the pigs where only  the guineas roam, while Blondie mom has went her way the opposite direction and rejoined the Colonel´s main tribe.  Hey, I had some chicks!

From toads to hens

I love toads.  I’ve always been crazy about them.   For some reason.   I used to build elaborate toad mansions under the back porch when I was young, hoping to entice the toads that got trapped in the window wells to stay.  Occasionally, they obliged.

Grown up, I’m happy to learn that toads eat slugs and are therefore a gardener’s best friend.  This is good, because I’m already friends with them.  I like their simple, clumsy toad ways.   And the grumpy faces.  I have to reprise some mansion-building in the garden to make it more comfortable there for them.

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I tossed out some rhubarb leaves, expecting the hens to definitely not eat them.  Surprise!  Later on, the leaves were completely skeletonized.

Edit: Rhubarb leaves are super poisonous!  The oxalic acid can kill animals, or us, if we eat many many rhubarb leaves.  Put it on the list, with styrofoam, of proof that chickens do not know what they should and shouldn’t eat.

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The Robin is not nesting in her usual spot.  We saw her earlier, and now she is conspicuously absent, so she is likely sitting on eggs at the moment.  When they hatch and she has to feed them, then we will know where her nest is.  She acts all sly and sneaky when she’s feeding her chicks but totally gives away where they are.

I’m hoping that she has finally moved out of the Robin Shed, so called since she has raised at least one clutch of chicks every year we’ve been here in a  nest above the door.  Perhaps she has finally deemed it unfit for avian habitation, and we will finally be able to tear it down.

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The Silkies are soooo pleased to be outside.  I feel guilty for not getting them outside much sooner (they stayed late in the greenhouse this spring).  Suddenly they spend all day outside poking around, and lounging in this corner where the grass is longer.  I see this photo makes it look like they are wistfully looking at the greener grass beyond their entrapment, but that’s not the case.   Someone must be passing by.  A nosy red chicken.

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I like the walnut trees with their early leaves on the tips of the branches.  They are exotic and kind of ornamental.

Fledging day

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The trio of barn robins fledged today (clutch #2).  H.W. went in to look at them, and said they were all side by side in the nest, looking out, but when he looked up at them, they all burst out of the nest and strewed about on the floor.  He started to scoop them up and put them back in the nest (Uhoh, uhoh), when he got attacked from the air by the parents and beat a retreat.  So they were out of the nest, and stayed out.  Premature fledging?  The rest of the day was full of low-flying overhead zooms from trees to roofs and back, with clumsy landings.  The mother robin shrieked her head off all day, screaming concern or encouragement to the little ones.  “OMG!  The branch!  The wind!  People!  Veer!  No, not there! Ailerons, now! OMG!  Not the roof!  Don’t follow him!  I can’t look!  Augh!  My heart!!!”, or that’s what it sounded like.  We seem to have missed this day on the last batch.

The fledgers seemed ok.  By sunset they had spread themselves pretty wide, judging from the changing source of the mother’s piercing narrative.

Chickadee tragedy (?)

I snuck over to peek at the chickadee nest, and, the horror!  The dead tree was snapped off right through the nest!

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So much for super secure :(  The chickadee’s nest excavations, that made the wall of the tree 3/16” thin on one side, must have weakened the tree too much.  We’ve had some wet and windy days.

I studied the scene and found no trace of violent death from the tree snapping or predators later.  Not a feather, nor shells, on the ground. The top of the tree was lying next to the base.

One tiny poop and one wet feather in the nest- it seems improbable that she raised her young slyly enough for us not to notice comings and goings and they got out in time, but I can hold out hope.

The nest is almost wholly built out of my hair and fibres I recognize from our Icelandic wool blanket and our fleece sheets.  Incredible.  Basically he felted together a little bowl.  I’m glad they benefited from our intrusion here, then.

IMGP7008Once I saw him on the ground outside the camper door, gathering a few hairs and a tuft of wool that’d been swept outside.  He was really working at it, trying to tug the little tangle loose from where it was stuck on twigs and dirt.  Each yank and he’d emit a little “eep”.  The hairs were good and stuck and it looked frustrating.  “Eep, eep, eep, EEP!”  Something I wouldn’t even see- a few brown hairs on the ground- and that little bird spied it.

By the barn, the robin is very sly while feeding her chicks- HW has often worried that she hasn’t been around, but she clearly has been around, enough to rear up clutch #2 to a full feathered trio.  Clutch #1.  They’ll be out of the nest any day.  I should have taken a picture on the day I discovered the little pink wigglers with bruise blue eye bulges.  There were only two, sharing the nest with the third blue egg,  and I assumed that the remaining egg was a dud.  But no, it must have been the day they were born, and the third had not yet hatched.  They barely fit in the nest now, overflowing it.

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Robin

I have a robin in the back part of the old barn.  She has a nest with three chicks in it on the wall under the eave.  There are three other nests between other rafters, so looks as if it’s a traditional location.  Trouble is whenever I go in there she flees into the barn instead of towards the outside, then batters herself against the window trying to escape from me.  This is terribly alarming for me, a big racket that surprises me every time, and a horror that she will break her beak against the glass and orphan her chicks, when I was just going for a rake.  It’s better these days now that she’s feeding them instead of sitting on them; we don’t meet as often.  I remember better now too to tiptoe in and out instead of barging in.  Sometimes I can see her tail sticking out of the nest and then I just wait for her to leave, so we’re living together much better.  The chicks are genetically engineered to hunker and go mute when there are invaders, but a couple times I’ve caught them give’n’ r with the wide mouths screeching for mama.  Cute.  Long necks.