Sunday, May 31, 2009

Family portrait?

Mama was in the nest with her babies. All was calm and orderly. Then Mama flew off for a break. Play time. I was hoping for a lovely family portrait. What went on was romp and stomp. The pictures speak for themselves. The growth is amazing. The babies are really aware of life outside the nest now.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Paternal care

Daddy is feeding his babies, hard work since one is way up a tree yards away from the other who's setting in the dense bushes, same bushes shared with nesting cardinals. Papa brought worms to Baby #1, not bread like the day before. Baby #2 was more accessible for pictures, so I watched on and off during the day. It was a challenge, because there was only one small gap in the bushes for viewing and the dappled lighting made it hard to control contrast. There was no shifting position for a better angle. Shifting meant no view. Rembrandt light and shadow. This baby looks like an infant when sitting quietly, but at feeding time you see the adult-to-be. The papa flies into the bushes from several approaches, from the east, from the north, never a direct approach to avoid any peril to this fledgling. The worms usually go down faster than the camera can capture, less than one second, down-the-hatch. Before feeding the bird calls, "Cheep cheep!", which means, "Feed me!" After feeding the baby repeats, "Cheep cheep", which sounds like, "Thank you". Or maybe it's "Feed me!" again.

Friday, May 29, 2009


While watching robin baby #2 who's hunkered down in the bushes (well hidden) I heard the click call of Papa-to-be Cardinal. He was above my head on a branch. Out of the bushes flew Mama-to-be Cardinal. I know there's a nest close to the hunkering baby robin. Mr. Cardinal had a mouth full of worms. He fed his mate. There is nothing more loving and tender. After her meal she groomed her feathers and within five minutes she was back hidden in her nest. She's obviously an experienced mother, knows to take very short breaks. Obviously the cardinals and robins co-exist in peace, because Papa Robin flies into same bushes to feed baby #2 without being attacked by the cardinal and the robins' (now vacated) nest is right across the path from the cardinal nest. There were no territorial problems.
Baby robin pictures tomorrow. All is fine.

Three-dimensionally wonderful

Big foot. Big po-po. Totally adorable.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Misty day

It's been drizzling on and off all day, but that didn't stop my search for life in the garden. Fledgling #2 is perched in the bushes well hidden, very low light. Fledgling #1 is up on a tree branch. Papa brought the baby a hunk of bread which he had a hard time getting down. There's another robin nest in the back garden, too high to see what's going on, but I saw a parent fly in with food. And in the midst of all this I met a sweet oven bird. Not bad for a wet day.

Fingers crossed

With luck our new fledglings will develop into beautiful new "teenagers" like this Riverside Park youngster. This youngster is now independent, but still wears his juvenile spots and slight yellow marking on craw.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Graduation Day

The robins have FLEDGED!!! Day 14, out into the world. One is perched on the tree above the bushes. The other is hidden in the bushes in no light. ( hand-held, 1/2 second exposure), and Daddy is taking a bath. He's going to be busy for the next thirty days. It's his job to feed the new fledglings while Mama sets up the next nest.


Birding takes practice. It's not an easy hobby if a person is juiced on caffeine or adrenalin. It takes patience- an ability to notice small details, an ability to stand still. A lot of birding involves waiting. I find huge joy in seeing a bird for the first time and being able to figure out what the bird is. This month I saw and recognized my first chestnut-sided warbler. I probably saw this bird before, but this time I knew what was in my face. It's the small details and bird behavior that helps in recognition and it happens in seconds.

On Monday I saw a tour guide with a group of inner city teenagers on a nature walk. They were far too noisy to have allowed birds to be seen close. The guide was saying, "That was a .....". "This is a tulip tree. The orioles love tulip trees". "That singing you're hearing is a ...". As I passed this group I heard one of the laggard kids ask, "Can't we see a cow or somethin'?" Yes, a cow they would have noticed, but not the small creatures, not yet fine-tuned birders, more attuned to texting and video games, big blare and flashing lights, not the gentle signs of nature.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cloudy day

It was all grey today, dreary. Mama Hawk flew out of the nest for a break. The kids turned the space into their own trampoline. I've seen wing flapping, but I'd never before seen young hawks jump up and down. It was a hoot. A video camera would have done better justice to the antics.