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.
Ooh ooh - I'm there!
The Everglades sounds awesome - though I imagine it'll be really steamy in August.
I'm still deciding if I think those little ratties are cute.
Cape May Number 2! Woo hoo!
I'm trying not to think about the weather down there. I'm focusing on Snail Kites.
Come on, Laura. You can admit that those baby rats are cute. Go ahead.
The rats are adorable. I haven't told Ruby about them -- promise! I don't think I'll make it to Cape May -- we save all our travel money for gas for the motorhome -- and that takes a LOT of money! :)
VERY cute rats, Susan :o) I would love to go to the Everglades. Sounds great but remember to take a lot of insect repellent!
I'd also love Cape May but I won't do it, again. All has to do with the expense of travel and it's a pricey event. Sigh.
Oh Susan what good news about the peregrines! Wish I could go on that Cape May trip with you. When are you going? I have never been. I have a blog friend named bobbie who lives near there. Congrats on the trip to Florida. I have only been there twice. Once was to Fort Myers and we were able to go to Sanibel Island and the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. What an awesoem place! I added so many birds to my lifelist there. Then, we went to the Corkscrew Swamp, an Audubon site. Saw my first purple galinule there. I can't wait to see the posts and pics of birds and reptiles from this trip. Try not to get eaten by an alligator while you are out bird watching please!
Oh, and if you want to see the MOST AWESOME TREE in the world, check out the Thomas Edison Mansion in Fort Myers. You don't have to pay to go inside. This gigantic tree is in the front yard. I have never seen anythng like it. I've always wanted to live in a tree, this one is made for a tree house!
Thanks Susan, As much as I would love to, I just can't manage Cape May this October, because I'll be saving my $$ for West Virginia in April 2009.
P.S. Everglades sounds awesome....can't wait to see what kind of pictures and stories you'll be bringing back for us to enjoy!
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