Sunday, June 08, 2008

Watch this space!

I was thinking about the last time I actually went birding. May 22nd.
That's just wrong. But with the heat, the busy life...I haven't gone out.

I haven't even been to RAPTOR since May 24th. This birding blog is quite short on birds.
Oh, yeah. The other reason I haven't gone out to bird is the cicadas. It's impossible to hear a damn thing when a million roaring, hormonally-challenged, need-to-have-sex-because-they-are-about-to-die insects, get kickin'. And the hotter it gets, the louder they get. Yuck.
But all of my judicious planning (i.e. laziness and refusal to trim all the tall stuff) makes our yard a cornucopia of photo ops. The yard rarely fails me.

Summer azure
Summer azure, I think. I thought there were only three blues around here (summer, spring and eastern-tailed), but I read that there are lots more, and they can be a bi*ch to ID. But I'm still calling it a summer azure.
I also got a video of it pooping. I will save that for another day, if you don't mind.

The babies are starting to roll in...this song sparrow was carrying a crane fly over to the neighbor's bushes. And a chorus of cheeping followed.
SOSP with kids dinner
And young robins and chipping sparrows are starting to show up. It makes the heat almost bearable.
The babies are starting to roll in at RAPTOR, too. Late Spring, early Summer, that is the busiest time at rehab centers. People think they are doing a good thing when they find a baby bird (or fawn, or raccoon, etc) and bring it to a rehabber. Sure, sometimes they need help: parents are dead, storm blows a nest out of a tree) But a lot of the time, a rehabber is not needed.
Here's what to do if you find a baby bird on the ground (if you find a baby mammal or some other thing, you're on your own)
  • Look up. If you see a nest, you can attempt to put it back. Sometimes chicks fledge too early. Or it's right on time and your help is not needed. Take care when you are trying to put a bird back in a nest. You can cause the other chicks to bail out and then you have 5 babies to deal with instead of one. Be warned: Once a baby bird jumps from the nest, they are hard-wired to keep jumping. But try it. You might get lucky.
  • If you don't see a nest, leave the baby where it is. Go back in the house and watch it. More times than not, the parents are nearby, waiting for you to leave so they can come in and feed their little one, which they will do until the baby can fly and get it's own food. (And in this instance, sometimes it's Nature culling out the ones who aren't going to make it. A predator might find it and eat it, thereby stopping that particular genetic line.)
  • If it is from a nest box, you can place the bird back in the box and block the hole until everyone calms down. Please don't forget to remove the plug...the parents want to feed their children.
  • If you don't see any parents coming to feed the chick on the ground, say after 30 minutes or so, you can then assume this baby needs your help. Call a rehabber (look at my link sidebar for a listing of rehabbers, searchable by state)
Here ends my Public Service Announcement.

Remember the nest I found a few days ago?
I think the little love birds rebuilt. Watch this space!
new nest in pear tree
And to give Geoff points, he told me about this bird flying with a long piece of string or grass. Good boy. He's learning.
I wish this was a more exotic nest, but it's probably robins.

I didn't know that maple trees could grow without soil:
Maples growing in the picnic table
They are just growing out of themselves. On the picnic table.

Speaking of growing, morning glory has taken over the world:
Morning glory wants to kill us in our sleep
I weeded this area around the bird feeders just a few days ago. And now, morning glory is plotting to rise up and kill us all while we sleep.

If you have a JoAnn's Fabric and Crafts store near you, you totally need to check if they are having a sale. Ours is...50% off all of their garden decor! Woo hoo!
gecko behind the house
Look like he is climbing the house!
(Maybe to join the morning glory in its evil plans?)

The prairie is huge and so much fun to be in now:
Prairie 060808
We increased it this year (well, I increased the size, Geoff just says "Yes, dear") and it's big enough to cut a path through. At any time, we can walk out there and see butterflies, dragonflies, spiders, snakes, all of my pretty flowers....

And I think someone else has been enjoying our prairie. While mowing today, I noticed a feather right outside the prairie.

GHO feather from yard
Okay, my gentle snowflakes. Can we name the bird who shed this?
I'll give you a hint.


See? See why my prairie is awesome?
I haven't seen this particular bird in the yard yet, but I have heard them, on those precious, rare nights that we can sleep with the windows open.


Mary said...

AWESOME POST! Your prairie is top-knotch. And, I never, ever thought a Summer Azure would poop, or any butterfly for that matter. :o)

The feather below to an Owl. Do I pass the quiz or not?

Thanks for your fledgling info. I've been watching a few fall from the trees. Love it.


Cincy Barb said...

Could it be a Barred Owl?

Owlman said...

I vote Barred too - safe and boring pretty unusual for me....

Trixie said...

Your prairie is rocking the Queen City. I want to come see it!

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Great post! The timely advice on fledglings is perfect. I see lots of Robin babies out and about, learning to use their wings and feed themselves. Your prairie is wonderful. I love it when people let their lawns grow naturally. Nice job!

Laura said...

Great advice on the fledglings!

Also, this post reminded me that I have YOU to thank for inspiring me to volunteer at a local bird rehab (Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. Thanks!

Laura (Nurturing Nature)

NCmountainwoman said...

It's all in your own back yard. What a fun place to be.

Lynne said...

I'm headed over to JoAnn's Fabrics afer I sleep. (got home from the lab at 0800) I wanna lizard too!

NatureWoman said...

I love your backyard Susan!

dguzman said...

WOW. Boy, I take a couple days off from blogging so I can actually get some WORK done while I'm AT work, and you go and post all this great stuff, including your fisticuffs with Buttercup! (hee hee! kick her ass!)

This post rocked, Susan. Your prairie is amazing. However, your morning glories are no match for MY morning glories--remember last year's photos? This year, we planted only a fraction of the seeds, plus we're getting volunteers. Let's hope they don't try to eat Em again.

RuthieJ said...

Hey Susan, It's cool to see that you're enjoying all kinds of nature things in the absence of birds. I love your prairie too. I have an acre that I finally got the sense to stop mowing a couple years ago, just some paths through it. I love walking through there and seeing what's growing and what new birds and butterflies are taking advantage of the "naturalness."