Everywhere I look, there are babies.
The ratties are one day old and have changed even in that short time.
Here's one at 12 hours old:
For those of you who haven't owned fresh, new rats: It's okay (and a good idea) to handle the babies as soon as they have had a chance to nurse at least once. They will recognize your scent and be a much nicer pet. You just have to watch out for the Mom. Since we only had Pearl for one day before she gave birth, we were unsure of her personality when NOT pregnant.
Mom rats can be testy (understandably so), but Pearl is more interested in climbing up my arm to my shoulder than me picking up her babies.
And Pearl is a good Mom...as rats usually are. Better than some people, if you ask me. You will never see a rat dump her babies into a dumpster or set them on fire because they got a bad grade.
Here's the whole posse:
(If you count, you will only see 10, but there's one at the bottom of the piggy pile)
They start out wrinkled and kind of naked mole-rattish, but in one day, I can see them filling out a bit. And their sweet little skins are so thin, you can see that they have nursed (it's called a "milk band")
I promise that I won't be posted every single day about the rats. Just when they do something cute. Or roll over. Or squeak.
A bored (oops, I mean BOARD) meeting at RAPTOR's Red Barn produced more babies.
A phoebe nest right next to the barn door.
And speaking of phoebes...I was talking to my Mom on the phone today, and a cedar waxwing landed on the weeping cherry tree. I started stammering, trying to tell Mom what was out there. Two minutes later, a PHOEBE landed on the "waiting perch" on the feeder! New yard bird!
On the back of the barn, way up above what used to be the hay loft, a messy, robin-ish nest:
And on the far side of the barn, a swallow-ish nest on some siding that needs repositioning:
I really like having board meetings at the Red Barn. Adjacent to the Cincinnati Nature Center, it's a delicious habitat. I heard or saw:
Ever board meeting in the world should be serenaded by a Wood Thrush. It should be in every company's by-laws.
And more bird babies are showing up at home:
A young cardinal, with that comical, tiny crest. A bird that looks like a squeak toy, instead of the State bird of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
Also on the home front...
We have been keeping this a secret from the girls, but we made deposits and paid for flights this morning, so we told them: We are taking a vacation in August. To the Everglades. And a hotel on the beach. The one thing that the girls have always wanted (well, in their short cute little lives), was a trip to a real beach on a real ocean. I have begun my research of birds that are in Florida in August.
A bit later in the year, I plan on doing Cape May again. A money jar is officially in service on the kitchen counter, marked, "Susan's Cape May Fund". So hopefully, we can replicate the blast Susan, Laura, Delia and I had again this year! Can we get Lynne there? Mary? Kathi? Nina? Liza? Ruthie? TRIXIE???? Or anyone else on my blog roll who is cool? I mean, we are a Flock. Aren't we supposed to go places together?
UPDATE: I forgot to add this bit of great news:
Peregrine falcons are nesting in a nearby county, a place where, in the 204 years of that county's history, they never have before.