Sunday, April 29, 2007

Counting Wrens

Ahhh...a perfect Sunday, mowing the lawn.
This is the first time we mowed this year.
I didn't take any "before" photos, because it was too awful.
As in, up to my knees in some sections.
I had to got over many sections 2 or 3 times, to chop up the clippings. We don't usually rake, but rather leave it all where it is and let it break down naturally.

Backyard finally cut
But I knew that raking was in my future, so I spun the mower in circles to create big piles of clippings.
(I have to wonder what the neighbors think of my prairie...see the uncut grass in the back? I doubled the dimensions this year)
We will rake up a good amount of the clippings and start a grass compost pile behind some pine trees in the farthest part of the yard.
And for the love of God...please don't put yard waste out for the garbage! It belongs in a compost pile, not a landfill!
Clumpy

Play with me
"Okay, so you're done with that loud thing you were sitting on. Can we play now?"
The winner of the Take the Gourd Challenge
And we have a winner in the contest for the prime real estate on the property...the purple martin housing.
The tree swallows have started gathering nest material, and while I was mowing, I watched them drive off a purple martin.
Damn.
Oh well. I better get out the feathers I bought when I saw the TRES had arrived.
We have other nest boxes available, but only one tall house on a pole. So the martins are out of luck again. Same thing happened last year.
Barely visible beaks
The baby wrens are getting huge. I can't believe they all fit in this little nest box. If you squint, you can make out three yellow dashes...that's the three sitting closest to the entrance.
And you may think I have gone off my nut, but I swear that my adult wrens can COUNT.
Wren with beakful
I couldn't get it on film, but I watched both of the wrens clean out the meal worms today, and each time, they would grab one worm and swallow it. Then they would pick up a worm, one at a time, until they had five and then fly off to the nest.
They know that they have five mouths to feed, so they pick up five worms.
That just rocks.
Has anyone else seen anything like this?

7 comments:

LauraHinNJ said...

I bought my first batch of mealworms yesterday - and a Carolina is a happy customer, but I don't know if/where they have a nest.

BTW - where do you get your mealworms and what do you pay? I got mine at Wild Birds Unlimited and they were $8.99 for 500, which seems kind of high, considering they're just worms?

Susan Gets Native said...

Laura:
I get mine from the bird store who handles RAPTOR's injured bird hotline. For 500, I pay $5.99.

Mary said...

I used to buy them for my neighbor at Petsmart but I know I didn't pay more than $5.00 for a small supply for a lizard.

Ahhh, the smell of fresh cut grass, don't you love it? And yes, Susan, we had an entire garden of grass clippings as a compost pile in Maryland because we had the room for it. Now we are wondering where, in our tiny yard, we would keep it. We'll figure it out. I'm thinking we can keep it high up there at the border of our property.

If the grass was to your knees, Nellie must have had a tickled belly! LOL!

I enjoy hearing about the wrens. You must be pleased.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Your prairie looks great! Your wrens are fantastic. I love that they can count! Let's see if they can multiply -- when the babes are bigger they should need two mealworms per trip per baby! :)

MojoMan said...

I love what you've done with the place! Do you ever get dirty looks from the neighbors with manicured lawns?

When I was a kid, I used to raise my own meal worms for my anoles by putting a few in a jar of oatmeal. Soon, there would be many.

Lynne said...

I go through mealworms pretty fast so if anyone knows of a good mail order place I'd appreciate it. Raising them myself...naaa! I wonder too if you get grief from your neighbors abuot your prairie area.
I've never seen birds count out worms for babes. Neat!

mon@rch said...

Congrats on the C wren chicks! How cool that you are getting the purple martins but that sucks about the tree swallows chasing them away! Don't they know who's houses are who? Can't they all get along like the purple martins? That reminds me, I probably should get out and mow my lawn before it gets too bad!