Saturday, July 31, 2010

An OH, NO! evening

The kids are on the ground and are practicing fending for themselves. Sometimes the parent finds a worm and leaves it on the ground for the kid to find and feed itself. Sometimes the kids mistake wood chip for food and eat it. Sometimes they bite off the end of a leaf, a real leaf, not a bug, and eat that. And sometimes they get tired and sit down and doze, little brown blobs blending into brown wood chips.

I was watching next to the driveway when my pals pulled out in their car. "Hey, Beth, take my picture". I sassily answered, "I only photograph birds". And out of the window came their bird, (on a leash of course), but right out the window. Gorgeous bird.

Close to 7pm I realized I was watching repeat behavior and decided to head upstairs. Near the entrance in the ground-cover ivy I heard, "Peep peep". A baby in the ivy?? The doorman had mentioned a little bird sitting on the sidewalk that he had sort of slow-maneuvered into the grass. "Peep peep". Have to find the source. Oh Lordy, another infant most likely from the nest high up closer to the avenue. No more fuzz on head, but a real new baby nevertheless very well hidden in the ivy, but on the ground . Not good. This is a worry.

It looked at me and opened mouth. Am I going to have to find food? Does it think I'm the mommy?

I'll feel better when this baby gets itself into a tree or bush. On the ground, even hidden in ivy is no good.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Time to smile

Dusk. Time to go see what's going on. Lots of calls for food.

Follow the food....... and this baby flew off.

But just as fast, down to the ground flew another baby, strong descent, safe landing.
Wait a minute! Could this be??????????


YES !!!!!!!! And look at the progress, the improved position of the right foot. I shot and shot wanting to document this incredible improvement in both use of foot and strength. No bobbling around. No flopping over. No flight hesitation. Foot actually used for balance, some weight on end of "toes", slight bend of ankle joint in correct direction.

If I hadn't seen this I would never have believed it. After waiting on back of bench he then flew straight up into the tree top, strong ascent. No matter what happens next this was a heart warming sight.


It's easy to find the babies. Follow the sound. This tot was perched just off the path. Second baby two trees north and further up. Amahl in the center area very high in tree. I watched while this baby posed. Then its body began doing the mid-body heaves. It's like watching a tummy twitch. I knew what was going to happen, but had never seen this before in the morning. The baby brought up a pellet, a fully intact mulberry with the stem attached. That's the problem, the stem. Their little digestive tracts can't deal with the stems. Up came the berry, projectile, and flew onto the ground.

Baby studied the "out go".

Next: yell for more food.

What happened next took place very fast. Papa sitting on ground. Understandable because of thick humidity.
Baby still on limb.

Papa got up. My eyes saw something that stopped me cold. Get pictures! Papa came at me on the ground. An attack? Was I being perceived as a threat? Face-off? All I wanted were pictures of what I had seen. No. I was not a threat. Papa wanted the "leaf" that was by my feet, except that was no leaf. It was an astonishing insect masquerading as a leaf, young green praying mantis?, huge green grasshopper? I'm not a bug expert. Papa dared to come right to my feet to get this delicacy. He got the bug and flew off towards the section of trees where Amahl hangs out. Compare size of adult robin with this bug. HUGE bug. All of this happened in no more than 4 seconds.

Papa came back after a bit to resume food hunting for kids and then I could document what I'd seen. Papa also has an injured foot. I don't know when this happened. Papa's foot had been fine the previous day. I've checked all pictures from nesting period through fledging time. No injury to Papa's leg. Now he has an injury, same ankle injury as Amahl has, but that doesn't stop him from carrying out his duties, -finding food and feeding the kids. Strength for pulling out worms, good balance for feeding. It's interesting to see that even with damage like this life goes on.
My eyes didn't see this, but the camera caught it. Papa took a leak before delivering brunch. Or maybe it was a message to me?

Belly full. Time to take a quick nap.

I couldn't see Amahl and decided to get some work done. By the door the baby sparrow found the delights of bathing in our little fountain.

I will now be studying every leaf I see. I want to see a live praying mantis.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not carrots

There's all sorts of stuff growing in our space. My eyes see the birds first and foremost, but I'm watching everything. If the mulberries were within human reach I'd be gorging on them too.

I do pick the apples when they're ripe. The trick is to find the ones that haven't been sampled by the birds and bugs.

But these are the weirdest and I don't know what they are, possibly some kind of fungus. They grow tall, about 16", carrots in reverse, attract bugs, eventually fall over and disappear. They grow up out of the wood chips.

I call them the death plant. Scientific name.