Ralph and Alice have been flying in and out of their nest box. There has been so much activity! There MUST BE hatchlings in that box, I thought. So, time for a monitoring.
I really didn’t think enough time had passed for Ralph and Alice’s eggs to hatch. But I guess enough time had passed after all.
Last year’s nest box renters, Ricky and Lucy, were always very vocal. Chick-a-dee, dee! Fee bee bee! Fee bee bee! They would scold whenever their nest was monitored. Then they would fly off for a distance.
Not so with Ralph and Alice. They stay near and are silent!
So, when I opened the nest box, what did I spy?
Day old chickadee hatchlings.
One-day-old Black-capped Chickadee Hatchlings
- Ralph and Alice’s Septuplets
She arrived today. On time. On time being the 3rd weekend of May … more or less. A bit less this year. A few days before the 3rd weekend in May. You can set your watch by her arrival, they say.
Who is she?
You know, don’t you?
The first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the season to make it to my feeders.
Yesterday I bought fuchsia plants (for the hummers to sip nectar from in my garden) for planting this weekend.
The 3rd weekend of May.
Just in time.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird sipping nectar
Last week I spied six eggs in Ralph and Alice Chickadee’s nest. I wondered if the clutch was complete or if there might be more eggs on the way. Last year, Lucy and Ricky had a clutch of seven eggs when they rented out the place. So, I know Ralph and Alice, this year’s renters, have room to spare.
Today I approached my backyard nest box, called Alice’s name and gave a firm rap on the side of the bird house to alert the occupants company had arrived. Nothing happened. I ever so slowly opened the bird house top and pointed it away from myself to give Alice an opportunity to exit if she was incubating her clutch. But it was so quiet, I thought she may have left for a few minutes to feed.
Alice! You ARE in there! Will you pose for a photo?
She was camera-shy and shot out of the nest box. I spied seven eggs! So, one was added since my last observation and incubation has begun. Will we have seven Black-capped Chickadee fledglings in a few weeks?
Look closely. Two eggs are nestled against the left side of the nest cup. Seven in all! A nice size clutch.
Great Horned Owlets
Cousin Thelma and I decided to hold our occasional coffee date at the arboretum this morning. The weather cooperated and we grabbed a table outdoors on the cafeteria patio to catch up on news. Later, as we strolled through the bluebell and daffodil glade, we came upon some birders whose binoculars were trained on something special …. baby owls!
Here are a few more snaps of the
arboretum on this lovely spring day.
Cousin Thelma and arboretum bluebells
Great Horned Owl Fledglings
Probably not. They don’t build nests. They deposit their eggs in the nests of other wild bird species for the host species to raise their young.
Brown Headed Cowbird Eggs In Eastern Bluebird Nest
Don’t the hosts know they have a “foreign” egg or nestling? Evidence suggests they do. Some species will dispose of the cowbird egg, others incubate, hatch and rear the cowbirds along with their own. Evidence also exists that cowbirds watch over their eggs and may retaliate if the host birds don’t accept them.
Male Brown Headed Cowbird
So, what did I find on my Eastern Bluebird monitor route walk today? Something I’ve never found before. Two Brown Headed Cowbird eggs in a nest with 3 lovely bluebird eggs. The adult bluebird pair was in the area perched above its nest-box guarding it as usual. In spite of the cost to their own young (they will have a difficult time finding enough food to feed the additional mouths with very large appetites) they will likely be good parents to the cowbird nestlings left in their care.
Rosa Rugosa (Photo credit: BristolSue)
A mystery blog reader needs help. Today s/he commented with this question on one of my earlier posts, What big hips you have, Rose!
And the question is … I have a question for all and sundry! I want to plant a rugosa rose – it has abundant hips but they are quite large. I have heard from some that birds do not or cannot eat large hips – that I should select a variety with smaller hips. Does anyone have experience with rugosa roses, hips and success with birds?? Would love an answer before I order and plant this new rose. Thanks!!
English: Some rose hips in close-up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well, I just took a brief look around the internet and I found what I think might be a good source to get more information …. an arboretum. Click here to see what the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois has this to say about birds and rugosa rose hips.
Pine Grosebeaks (Photo credit: Ryan Lindsey)
The article on the arboretum website says this about the rugosa rose hips, “Birds Attracted: 42+ species, including waxwing, grosbeaks, vireo, and chickadee.” 42+ species! It would be nice if they listed them all. That tells me there is no lack of birds that will munch on those hips! Well, chickadees are quite small birds. Vireos are as well. Waxwings and grosbeaks are no larger than robins, if that. The smallest birds at my feeders, such as pine siskins and gold finches sit in my crab tree all winter and pick at the crab apples that are a fairly good size. They don’t eat the entire apple, they pick at it and eat it in bites. But I don’t know if rose hips lend themselves to being nibbled upon or eaten whole.
Can you help? Any rose hip / wild bird experts in the house who can post an answer here?
It’s migration time. The time to be especially vigilant to see birds not otherwise native in the dead of winter or height of summer as they travel through to more distant breeding grounds. It’s time also to welcome the return of breeding pairs to their nesting spots in your area.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, female, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, Quebec, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I saw a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak at my feeder. Brown birds are easy to dismiss. There are so many. But this bird caught my eye. At first appearing similar to a female Red-wing Blackbird, she was not as sleek, and her eye strip was distinctive as was her thick bill.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Virginia (Photo credit: Dave Govoni)
The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak is distinctive in his black, white and rose plumage. There’s no mistaking him. But I haven’t spotted one at my feeder for a while.
Scarlet tanager (Photo credit: Henry McLin)
The Scarlet Tanager that arrived early from Central America made news in Chicago recently when it was spotted near the parking lot at the Lincoln Park Zoo along Lake Michigan’s shoreline.
So, be on the lookout! Have your binoculars at the ready.