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Wildlife Journal 2007

 

As usual when the March Winds and April showers  visit us heralding the most glorious season, there is much to observe  and delight  even, right in our own backyards.  And so it is yet once more that the wonderful time has come. The time for observing and learning the lessons that Nature in all it's abundance teaches about life and the mysteries of it. As I embark on this journey each year, I never know what will unfold that catches my eye and my interest but something will---------

Go to most recent entry of the Robin Nest

April 14, 2007

Having monitored Robin's nest each year since 2003, decided that "been there done that" as far as Robins go will prevail. So I have no plans to invade the privacy of the Robins who will probably build nests in the Hollies although none spotted so far. But nest of different species, would be of interest to me and would probably bring out the X10 Remote cameras if within reach.  Now in checking all of the previous nest locations discovered a couple of days ago that a Mourning Dove pair had taken up residence in one of last years Robin's nest. This one I referred to last year as the High and Dry nest since it was located on a down spout just under the roof. The nest had survived rather well the 300 or so days since it was last used and looks virtually the same as it did in last years pictures. So I will read up on Dove characteristics and thereby get some idea of what to expect. At this time I do not know how long she has been there and if any eggs have yet been laid, but I suspect she is in the incubation process.

Pictures show the dove and last years Robins . Note the apparent "non the worse for wear" condition of the nest.

Dove on the nest April 14, 2007

 

 

The Robin's in the same nest May 2006

 

 

April 17, 2007

Pretty sure the incubation process has begun in earnest, While an X10 is out of the question for close observation, still other means can help me keep a observational eye on this Dove and her borrowed Robin nest.  It appears that she spends most of the time sitting on the eggs and caught her leaving just for a couple of minutes only one time. More Dove facts to follow.

April 18, 2007

This year marks the 25th year we have called this place home. Another first happened today as I glanced out of the window at the birdfeeders, there beneath the array of hanging feeders, casually pecking away like a barnyard fixture, was a wild turkey. Never before seen here but will make a great add to our Backyard Wildlife pages.

 

click on any of the Pictures for the full size page

 

 

 

April 19, 2007

This Morning spotted the first Hummingbird of the season at one of the Hummer feeders

 

April 20, 2007

Once again the surprises that await us in the Spring have not disappointed. Discovered this day a Cardinal nest , now underway with eggs laid and incubation in progress. This one is in the same Holly as the ill fated Cardinal nest of 2005, where the Cowbird attacks and neighbor cat reeked havoc and eventually ended in the hatching of a single hatchling, which expired before reaching fledge age. Discovered also a freshly built Robin nest in another Holly, but no residents spotted as yet. This year I will attempt to document in a different way. I will log the events here as the situation warrants, but will put a single page link to that day's detail and embedded pictures and videos. At least that is the way I will start and see how it goes.

The Cardinal nest seemed off to a good start, with what looked to be the perfect pair. He brought food to her while she stayed on the nest throughout most of the day. Don't know how many eggs were in the nest to start with but I know there is one Cardinal egg less that there was. To my horror in the twilight before dark, the camera caught the female Cardinal leaving the nest a few times and on one occasion, within seconds of the departure, a female Cowbird arrived and proceeded to remove one egg. The Cardinal returned and continued the incubation process. Leaving again, for only a few minutes, the Cowbird returned again - looked around the nest, but then left without removing or depositing any eggs. The Cardinal returned and was on the nest when it was too dark for the camera to see.

Click on this link to go to the Media Page for DAY 1 Cardinal Nest.

 

April 21, 2007

Not a good day for the Cardinal Nest. In the early part of the day, all appeared normal, although I could not say how many or whose eggs were in the nest. She spent most of the morning on the nest , leaving only occasionally and then only for a short time. But as afternoon arrived did an about face, and was absent from the nest more than she was on it. Even the male mate seemed to be confused as he returned to the nest several times with food morsels dangling from his beak, in an effort to feed her, only she was not there. Later towards evening she left and never returned again. Using a ladder and a mirror, I checked the nest and found one egg- A cowbird Egg.

 

April 22, 2007

I had decided to allow the sordid Cardinal affair to play out and observed closely until mid afternoon. No cardinal return either male or female. Later I retrieved the ladder once again and checked the nest and this time there were two Cowbird eggs. I think the female Cardinal must have realized that something was amiss and made the decision yesterday to not incubate the cowbird egg. My assumption is that the cowbird returned sometime in the early morning hours before I had my tapes rolling and laid the additional egg. At any rate I made a decision as well and removed the nest with cowbird eggs intact to the backyard where no doubt the raccoons will enjoy the deviled eggs. (that is how I feel about Cowbirds)

And so , once again as in 2005, a promising  opportunity to observe a Cardinal clutch with hoped for hatchlings has been hijacked by the birds from Hades. Mama's don't let your hatchlings grow up to be Cowbirds.

On a happier note, it was a beautiful day as was yesterday, and the Thunder over Louisville Kentucky Derby Festival kick off event was a spectacular success attracting numbers approaching one million to the Ohio River waterfront.

Spotted another hummer today.

The Dove is still on the once used Robin Nest and a Robin has started the incubation process on a new nest in the Holly just a few feet away from the ill fated cardinal nest.

Click to go to the April 22 Media Page

 

 

 

April 25, 2007

Today was not a good day for Nesting Doves.  I thought the once used Robin Nest was pretty much indestructible since it had endured for a year. Not sure what happened and since was not in a place where a X10 monitor could have recorded the activity, will never know for sure. What is for sure though is the fact that the nest now lies in the shrubbery below the downspout and is just a clump of dry caked and broken mud with the now disarrayed dry straw that once was the home of three Robin Hatchlings and expected to be the home of an unknown number of Dove hatchlings.    While the female Dove was on the nest until late afternoon, I tried to catch a video sequence of her returning with the camera rolling. It appeared after an hour or so that no activity was captured and I removed the camera. About an hour later I checked the nest to see if she had returned and to my surprise the nest was no longer in it's lofty location. Don't know why or how. But there were no eggs in or about the fallen nest. So will remain a mystery. So if  keeping score, there are already two nest  stories with very bad and abrupt endings. At this time only the Robin is tending the sole surviving nest and my guess is that it will be fine. I hope so anyway.

 

April 27, 2007

So if politicians can change their minds then why not I. With the Cardinal nest and the Dove nest now kaput I have decided now to watch closely the Robin Nest which I discovered today has four beautiful blue eggs now quite visible to the X10 camera which I placed today. This was almost not to be either. While at my computer this morning, I noticed suddenly a large black bird pass by my window which overlooks the garage roof and the Holly with the Robin nest. I sprang to the window and there on the roof just above the Robin nest was a large Crow. It was heading down toward the nest when I flew open the blinds and the startled crow took off like a F-14. It was this event that caused me to rethink the no Robin Nest camera policy,  uttered by this writer , only a few days ago.  Given the bad luck with two nest already, I surmised the Robin's might just need a little watching over.  I think now that the crow may be the culprit responsible for the abrupt dislodgement of the Dove nest a couple of days ago.  And so the X10 has been placed and in a good spot for sure, and now nothing to do but watch the spectacle as it unfolds. Since there are four eggs, and the Robin rule is one egg a day , I believe the incubation has only been under way for a couple of days. Which prompts me to make my perennial guestiment  for hatching to be on or about May 7 and for sure May 7-10.

 

Click on the Picture above or this link to go the the Video page for today.

 

 

April 28,2007

 

 

 

A beautiful Spring day and the incubation of the four blue eggs continues. Noticed a pattern today. In the morning, the air was cool and the dangers great. (The Crow returned to the rooftop just above the nest and was once again  driven off by writer of these pages) The camera did verify that the female was on the nest at this time. So in the coolness and danger, she did stay on the nest and the male brought food to her. These birds are amazing and are grade A parental units. In the afternoon the temperature rose into the 70's and allowed the female to leave the nest for short intervals. I saw this enough to establish something of a routine. She would be on the nest for about 30 minutes, then leave for from 5 to 10 minutes. Many times during her short absences, the male would return to the nest and stand on the rim on guard duty.  Egg turning is also a basic in the routine and she rearranges, them at least once every 30 minutes.

Click here to watch the videos for the day

 

April 29,2007

 

Never a dull moment when you take on the surrogate protector role of a Robin family in the making.  Threatening crows two days this week and now today the Gray Squirrel almost disaster. I spotted the squirrel on the roof heading for the Robin Nest Holly. I feared I was too late but hit the garage door opener perhaps just in time to scare it away. At any rate it was trying to get a good angle on the nest contents, and all the while the male robin was squawking while the female had left the nest abruptly.  In the end all remained intact at least for the moment.

Click on the Picture above or this link to go the the Video page for today.

 

April 30, 2007

The Events of the last few days with the Crow and Squirrel threats to the precious nest contents, seems to have had a sobering effect on the parent Robins. Now there is practically no time when the eggs are not being closely guarded either by the incubating female, or the male doing sentry duty. When the female leaves the nest , the male almost immediately assumes his nest rim guard duty, and stays until she returns. In all of my observations of these disciplined birds, I continue to be amazed at the intricacies of each aspect of their parenthood. The nest is always firm and well built, almost an engineering masterpiece, and all done with brought in materials, and only beak , feet and body molding techniques available.  If the day is cool or rainy, the female stays on the nest while the male brings food to her. When there is a threat to the eggs, the male is always close by to try to protect, and finally the precision of the shift changes and of course the communication signals from both. The male never sits on the eggs though, that appears strictly to be the female responsibility.

Click on the Picture above or this link to go the the Video page for today.

to be continued

 

May 1, 2007

Today has been one those hoped for and needed uneventful days when nothing unexpected happened. It was very warm as was yesterday and this prompts a change in these Robin super parents. Much of the day was spent on the rim of the nest by both parents as the danger of overheated eggs was very much a possibility. She senses the just right temperature for the incubation process through her brood spot bare breast sensor and this prompted her to remain off the eggs during the warmest part of the day. When she was not on the eggs, and also when the male is guarding the nest when she is away, they both adjust their location on the rim of the nest to block the direct sunlight from burning the eggs. Amazing set of know how traits these so called bird brains possess. As I have noted before, some human kind parents could do well to take lessons from the parental Robins. Still expecting hatching to occur probably about next Sunday or Monday.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video for this event.

 

May 2, 2007

Well the uneventful day described yesterday, was shattered with a little excitement this morning. All was calm and I was at my desk with the live X10 feed from the nest on my office TV monitor. I heard the squawking  alarm from the female on the nest as she abruptly left . In an instant the intruder briefly showed itself right at the nest, but was quickly driven away by both the male and female Robin Parents. At the time I did not know what it was but looking out of my office second floor window down onto the walkway and the holly. I witnessed both parents flogging in and around the base of the Holly and then suddenly scampering down the walk and away from that commotion with breakneck speed was the culprit -- a chipmunk. So once again the learning process never stops, as previously I had not considered the chipmunk to be a threat to the nest, but now realize why with so many dangers to these birds, that only 40 percent of nest starts ever survive to fledglings.

New critters today in the back yard -- A Box Turtle, a Salamander, and Indigo Buntings. Also saw the Hummingbirds at the sweet water again.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video for this event.

May 3, 2007

A very rainy and cool day and for the most part the female robin stayed on the nest keeping the eggs dry and warm. Since she was on the nest for at least three or four hours this morning I never saw the male come to the nest at all on the tapes today. In the afternoon when the rain stopped, she left for short absences several times, but continued to spend most of the time on the nest. She would fall asleep many times but always easily awakened. Almost had an event, but not quite sure what it was about. The video for today shows that shortly after one of her departures, a strange sound can be heard, and the holly shakes a bit. We never see what this potential intruder was but Ma Robin returned promptly and I don't think she could figure it out either. She was not in squawk mode, but spent a good deal of time on the rim of the nest looking down through the Holly. She finally satisfied herself that the danger had passed and resumed her normal stance on the eggs. The video today is a little bit larger file, and of course most of these require a High speed Internet connection to watch in a timely manner.

For the second day in a row a pair of Indigo Buntings returned to the feeder area and I saw them several times. Perhaps they will nest close by. Now wouldn't an x10 remote be neat if I could find such a gem.

Did not see the Box Turtle again today, but he is out there somewhere hopefully eating those insects that devoured me yesterday.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video for this event.

 

May 4, 2007

The cool temperature and rain continue today which resulted in the female staying much of the time on the nest shielding the eggs with her body. Thunder and lightning did not dissuade our dedicated mother to be.  It was at least a day of intruder free existence. I could not detect any threat detected by me or the parent Robins. Here they are doing what they do with dedication and devotion and taking no notice whatsoever of the goings on here in Louisville and the Kentucky Derby Hoopla. Two days ago the now famous Dannielynn, Daughter of Larry Birkhead arrived in Louisville from the Bahamas and is currently staying a scant 5 miles from this nest with father and Paternal Family and Friends. The Queen of England will arrive tomorrow and with minions of other Rich and Famous witness the Kentucky Derby a scant 10 miles from this nest.  The critters go on and we humans go on and  perhaps it is like a parallel universe, where we all share the same world, but in many ways are oblivious to each other. At any rate tomorrow evening , the Derby will be over and a new winner will wear the garland of roses. The Queen will leave for Washington for a meeting with the President and the countless Private jets rivaling a medium size country's air force will have departed once again carrying the movers and shakers out of the Derby City and dispersing to all parts of the world. If all goes well for the Robins the sun will set tomorrow night , with the four eggs still intact, and within only a couple of days to hatch day. Then the work really begins for them and if all goes well, we will be here to document it as it happens and then after 12 more days, they too will depart the nest and eventually be dispersed. But hmm, I am getting ahead of myself. A lot has to go right for that to happen and a lot can go wrong in two and a half weeks.

Hummingbirds are increasing in numbers- Sighting them at the feeders is now routine.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

May 5, 2007

Event Alert

Well a very big day in Louisville, and another Kentucky Derby has crowned a new winner. Congratulation to Street Sense  et al. But not the only celebration in town. A big event also happened at the Robin nest and just a couple of hours before the Derby race was seen by millions a miraculous event took place. The first hatchling struggled it's way out of the shell just about 4:15 this afternoon. It appears my guess of May 7 for hatching to begin, was a little off. This little one seemed to frustrate the female, as it appeared she did not quite know what to do. But the male took charge, and almost immediately helped by removing part of the shell from the nest even though the hatchling was still not entirely out of the shell. He also started bring in food morsels, even before the little one had a chance to even straighten up. He then tried to transfer the food to the female who still acted as if she was not quite sure what to do. Before the darkness closed in , however the little one was able to raise up with beak open to receive first food deliveries. Still at last light , only one of the four eggs had hatched.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

 

May 6, 2007

Looks like the second hatchling has joined us in this world and this happened just about dawn. My estimate, is just about 12 to 14 hours after the first hatching. If there was any confusion yesterday on the part of the female, with one chick and three eggs still requiring incubation, she has regained control and now the male is bringing in the worms for two and the team work is amazing to watch.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

At about 11:30 AM the third hatchling entered the world, and the Male parent removed the egg shells. At last light, the fourth egg had still not hatched.

 

 

May 7, 2007

At 08:00 the fourth egg has still not hatched and now we are at about 40 hours since the first hatch. Hope it makes it but if not soon will be well behind the growth of the other three. Then the question of what happens if it doesn't hatch as to the disposition of the egg. Will they remove it or will it remain in the nest?

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

Well at last- at 10:30 AM the fourth chick began to poke a hole in the last blue egg. Surrounded by it's brothers and or sisters, the runt of the clutch has shown up some 42 hours after the first came forth. Of course remembering the one egg a day guideline the eggs were laid, it is not surprising, that the hatching of the last egg laid would be some time delayed from the first hatching. That is why they don't start serious incubating until all the eggs are laid. In this way the hatching of all can be in a tighter time period. At any rate not to worry. This set of Robin parents are looking like experts now. And now we still  won't know what they do with an unhatched egg.

10:30 AM fourth hatching begins

6:30 PM Four Hungry hatchlings

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

On the garage roof just above the Holly with the nest

 

The Holly at the  far end of the walk is Nest home

 

 

May 8, 2007

Another safe night for the four hatchlings and feeding started right at dawn as the fuzz begins to form on all of these chicks. With the first one hatched on May 5 and the last one hatched on May 7, will be interesting to see if all of the milestones are consistently 40 or so hours offset. The eyes usually open on the sixth day, so will be looking at May 11 for at least some eyes to be open.

7:00 AM

7:00 PM

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

May 9, 2007

7:00AM

First light showed that all appears well and now several feeding missions have already been flown by both parents. Since a good bench mark for fledging is in the neighborhood of 12 to 14 days, I am guessing that first fledge will occur on or about May 17. Now that is a lot of growing up to do in the next 8 or 9 days. They are off to a good start though as the fuzzy down covers more of their nakedness almost hourly. The amount of growth of the fuzz can be seen in our two videos for this day. The videos are 12 hours apart and the difference can readily be detected. 

7:00AM

7:00 PM

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

May 10,  2007

7:00AM

It is always a relief  each morning at first light to verify that all four hatchlings are still intact. And so it is this morning with the feeding cycle frequency increasing as the chicks grow. Today they appear a little more coordinated as the first hatched will be five days old today. The middle two will be four but the last hatched is only three days old. Still not easy to discern which is the first and which is the last hatched. Perhaps tomorrow when the eyes of the first should open it will be more obvious. By this method the runt of the litter eyes should be last to open. The first early video for today shows one of the chicks with head out from mothers breast as the father arrives with on more beak full of worms.

5:00PM----- Hot and dry this afternoon and it looks to be  miserable in that nest. The quartet is getting the hang of the open beak pleading though, and look to be just hanging out with mom.

7:00AM

5:00 PM

 

 

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

May 11, 2007

 

 

9:00 AM------ All looks to be OK in the nest. Each day the nest is becoming a little more crowded and this is the day one of these hatchlings will open it's eyes. The eye opening event is now underway and can be seen from the picture and video as the membrane no doubt on our first hatched has a small pinhole of eye showing. Technically, the first hatchling won't be 6 days old until about 4:30 PM this afternoon.

7:00 PM--- By evening and after many, many feeding events, I believe that three hatchlings have their eyes at least partially open. The eyes of the last hatched, do not appear to be open yet, but expect by tomorrow evening, all four should have the gift of sight. It is little easier to tell from the short second video for the day. 

 

9:00 AM

7:00 PM

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

May 12, 2007

10:00 AM --- Seven, Six and Five days old - our four newest Robin inhabitants of this world. I believe I see that all eyes are open now but cannot say for sure on the last hatched.  The female Robin always feeds, groom, and cleans the nest from the position in the picture below under 10:00 AM. The male always enters and does his feeding thing as shown in yesterdays picture above under 9:AM.  It is obvious that the male primarily brings worms and usually leaves with a fecal sac or two, and the female will bring some food, mainly earthworms and green worms but stay at the nest longer, cleaning the nest, and grooming the hatchlings. It is likely that by this time next week, Saturday May 19 that the fledging process will be underway and or completed.

6:00 PM--- Has been a hot day for  this nest full of squirming writhing misery . Temperature near 90 degrees, and the nest is getting crowded for our quartet. Can now confirm that all eyes are open and the feeding cycle which includes waste removal goes on for at least 100 times today. The late day video shows all the duties of the robin parents. If any question on how the waste is removed from the nest then this video provides an answer. Actually it is not as bad as it looks to human kind, as due to the rapid metabolism of the hatchlings, much of the fecal material contains undigested food  from which the parents actually receive nourishment .

 

10:00 AM

6:00 PM

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

 

May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 As to noon today, all remains well with the four hatchlings. The oldest is eight days and the youngest is six, with the two middle ones seven days old. The wing feathers are now forming and at last they look a little more like Robins. In the Video for today, it is obvious that only one or two chicks receives the food on any one food delivery trip. How do they keep the ledger straight on who gets the next food. Hmm what ever the method , it seems to work. It doesn't look like that much difference and of course the two on the extremes are two days apart. Perhaps it is just a miracle.

 

 

May 14, 2007

 Monday Monday

Another day older and a little more scratching , stretching , and wing flexing, for the quartet. Ages nine, eight and seven days. Both parents keep the worms coming .

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

May 15, 2007

Tuesday May 15

A busy day for these parents, keeping these four always hungry chicks stuffed with worms. I checked several 1 hour segments for the number of times the worms were brought in . Usually between the two parents the average was 20 times per hour and extrapolating for the 14 or so daylight hours there were approximately 280 feeding trips. Usually one chick gets the most but two usually get some and so it appears that each gets fed on every other delivery for maybe about 140 worms a day for each of the chicks. Since the average stay in the nest is something like 12 to 15 days. one could conclude that it takes between 1500 and 2000 worms to make a fledgling robin. Today the oldest is 10 days old and the youngest is 8 days old

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

May 16, 2007

 

 

Wednesday May 16

The Oldest hatchling is 11 days old today and approaching fledge time. I suspect it is this  chick that is so active in the nest as can be seen from today's video. He is the one exercising his wings and doing his stretch exercises. Their chatter has gone up in volume and the sound has changed as they approach the milestone they are about to reach.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

May 17, 2007

Thursday May 17

Twelve Days old today for the oldest chick but the youngest is only ten days old. I have seen hatchlings become fledglings on the twelfth day but not from this bunch. Actually I think the parents are thinking that way too . Late in the day the parents began to do the faux feeding routine. They would arrive at the nest and the expectant devourers would pop us yapping as loud as they could, but no worm delivery was made. Only the hygienic routine of removing the fecal sacs would occur. I believe this is a way to rile up the chicks into the beginning of the exodus. But alas it did not work today.  At one time one of the parents seemed to hold class for the kindergarten gang. As the video shows, it appeared they paid close attention.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video

 

 

May 18, 2007

Friday May 18

Another full day in the nest for the gang of four. On this the thirteenth day for first hatchling and the eleventh day for the last out of the shell, the nest is a crowded place made now even more so by the wing exercising movements of especially the oldest. It looked today like the feeding cycles were there in the numbers but not there in the substance. It appears the parents are really trying to condition them to be a little hungry, for maybe tomorrow it will be time to go. A few times one of the chicks did stand for a moment or two on the rim of the nest but no real attempt to vacate. Enjoy it chicks for your last few hours in this nest are at hand.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video  

 

 

May 19, 2007

Saturday May 19

The fourteenth day for Chick number one and Thirteenth for the middle two and the twelfth for the last out of the shell.  I thought for sure this would be the day for fledging at least for one of the chicks. Actually  from observations of the feeding cycle, it seemed that it was back to   bringing food than teasing them as I noted on the previous day. I believe this is all a Devine plan to educate and prepare them while keeping them strong for the leap into real life. At any rate the nest is clearly too small for these four adolescents. At one point one of the chicks, probably the oldest stepped out of the nest but seemed frightened by the change and almost frantically returned and tried to stay within the confines of the only home it had ever know.

It was nearly dark when I returned home from the hospital, but still a little light left and so I started a DVD recording of the last hour or so before complete darkness. Good thing I did , for  as I stood on the walkway beneath the nest, I could see the chicks standing on the rim and while I was there thought one of them hopped out but could not be sure. After  reviewing the late late tape, I had indeed caught the first hatchling, becoming the first fledgling. The video is a bit dark but the chick can be seen leaving the nest.  Now the Holly is very thick with lots of branches, so this first out did not go very far from the nest but stayed on one of the Holly branches near the nest. And now there were three.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video  

The last shot of all four chicks still in the nest . Soon after this shot the first one fledged. See the video

 

May 20, 2007

Sunday May 20

With the first Fledge out in 14 days, it was now the 14th day for the middle two chicks. Looks like 14 days is charm for the fledgling activity on this nest. Very early after a quick teasing feeding run , the chick decided it was time to go to the food rather than wait here for it. The first video of the day shows the second chick leaving the nest.

Within 30 minutes, the third chick left the nest after another feed teasing run by the parent. Now only the last hatched remains in the nest and he won't be 14 days until tomorrow.  The three fledglings were all still in the holly most of this day. On two occasions one of the fledged ones hopped back onto the nest as if to say , come on kid let's go. But Junior had that big roomy nest now all to himself and was in no hurry to leave it.

click on this link or the pictures to go to the media page and the video  

 

May 21, 2007

 

Monday May 21

And now it is the fourteenth day for the last hatched. All day long he stayed on the rim of the nest and the parents or parent, not sure, did indeed come and bring small amounts of worms, and do the hygienic removal each time. I did not think it was going to happen, but then at almost last light the final hatchling became the final fledgling and at last the nest was empty. Interestingly enough all four chicks departed the nest on their respective fourteenth day. They were all still in and about the holly tree with the nest for most of the next day and then they all seemed to adjourn to the back yard shrubbery. I saw them many times over the next two weeks as they stayed hidden but occasionally could be seen being fed by the male Robin. Finally after two full weeks, they seemed to be able to find food on their own. They are still around but now except for some specks on the breast look like all the other robins looking for worms in the grass.

click on this link or the pictures above to go to the media page and the video  

 

Fledge Day Final Video

 

June 15, 2007

The four hatchling Robins are all now still hanging around but fending for themselves. I believe though that the male adult stayed with these chicks for nearly three weeks and could be seen feeding them  as late as June 8. They seem to be a rather content lot, as they are singing loudly from low branches whenever I am in the yard and eagerly waiting for the sprinkler to roust the insects on the lawn and in the mulch.

This Link for the Video "10 Days from the Nest"

 

As for the other birds, this has been a great Spring for bird watching, and I really have to work to keep the suet cakes supplied Pretty much all of the birds go after them with a vengeance The video link will illustrate. The WMV file is large and really only for Hi-speed Broadband connections.

.

Click on the pictures or this link for the WMV Video

 

June 25, 2007

Now the summer has just begun and the fruits of the Spring renewal are everywhere to be seen. The whole fresh supply of young robins, now looking very much like the adults they are fast becoming, can be loudly heard singing from low limbs all over the yard. Whole families of Blue Jays and Grackles are now daily feeders on the suet and seed cakes and the suet cakes disappear almost daily. The long long draught has at last been halted, at least temporarily with several good and general showers. Hummingbird numbers seem to be substantially less than last year and the Flying Squirrels are in short supply compared to past years.

A little rodent action also as a gray squirrel and a chipmunk got into my camera view .

Click on each picture for the video

 

 

 

July 3, 2007

Time to do a bit of shrubbery trimming as the hollies and pyracanthia  have gone uneven and a bit ragged looking. So planned to have that done in the next week or so and then made the discovery late this afternoon. I saw the small bird go into the pyracanthia and about where last years ill fated Song Sparrow nest was located. Upon investigation, spotted the nest and with lots of little wide open beaks and tightly shut eyes. Hastily set up an X10 in the vicinity to see what we had. Looks like Song Sparrows again with at least six hatchlings in the small nest. Looks like the Shrubbery make over will have to wait a few days. 

click here for the video

 

 

July 4, 2007

This Holiday is a happy and joyous day for most Americans. A day significant as the day our fledgling Nation began. Alas though, this was not a happy day for our Song Sparrow Fledglings to be. As the Video will explain, the words "we have only just begun to live" have a special application to the six less than six day old hatchlings. Some things are just not meant to be

Click on this link or the pictures above for the Video

 

 

July 14, 2007

Life does indeed go on and the drama and heartbreak of a Song Sparrow massacre does not diminish the joy and excitement of the other spectacles spread out before us. Indeed it actually embellishes the ongoing wonderment and amazement of the whole joyous potpourri. A few days ago another first for our 25 year stint at this location. Two Pileated Woodpeckers visiting at the same time.

Click on this link or the picture above for the Video

 

 

July 16, 2007

On the way to the mailbox this morning noticed this magnificent creature whose station in life would soon change. Either it would become a Luna Moth after a bit of metamorphoses or else would become a very hearty lunch for the Robin regulars hopping about on the lawn ever searching for that next protein fix. I watched for a bit but did not follow his fate, rather enjoying this moment of shared existence. 

 Click on this link or the pictures above for the Video

 

 

August 1, 2007

The lazy hazy days of summer are in full swing here in the Ohio Valley and the forecast is for just that, as far into August as the forecasters can see. Have not seen any Luna Moths as of yet, so cannot speculate as to the fate of our July Caterpillar taking that leisurely stroll.

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"  well that is the old quote signifying that it is better to have one for sure, rather than maybe have two, or whatever. In the case of the garage trapped young Cardinal a couple of days ago, the bird in my hand was worth a lot more to it than it will ever know. From time to time when working around the yard with the garage door open a misdirected song bird will find it's way into the garage but for some reason cannot ever leave the same open garage door. Not sure what that phenomenon is but it seems once inside, the birds will only  fly very near to the ceiling and never swoop to exit the wide open door from which it entered.  And so it was with this young dark beaked Cardinal, and for 30 or 40 minutes the bird flew back and forth from one end of the garage to the other, always  above the open garage door and was clearly in something of a panic mode. It made no difference if I left it alone and left the area or tried to direct it out of the garage. Luckily there are two windows in the garage and as it was nearing dusk, the windows became the last bastion of brightest daylight and on one of the many ingargage flights the Cardinal tried to exit the window and became momentarily trapped between the curtain and the window. It was now that I made my save the day move with garden gloves donned, I gently grasped the bird who at first struggled against the unknown danger but then as I held it for a moment or two, seemed to acquiesce long enough for me to snap the picture. When I opened my hands outside and the bird once again became free as a bird, it only flew a few feet from me and then just resumed normal bird activities in an near the shrubbery.  I thought for a moment how lucky the cardinal was that it was this mammal that saw it's plight and came to the rescue, as if any other animal had found it in this state, the outcome would have most probably been fatal.

 

August 2, 2007

While the Hummingbirds have not been as plentiful this year as in the past, it  does seem that the numbers and frequencies of sugar water visits are on the increase. The video below has a little of that activity.

Click on any of the hummer pictures for the Video

        

 

 

August 28, 2007

Well from my last entry to this one a lot has changed regarding the 2007 Hummers. Now the numbers have increased to be the most ever seen at our feeders. In addition they seem to be completely unperturbed by my presence and continue to do the Zoom Zoom Zoom thing sometimes not more than a foot from my camera . I will add another video or two but for now click on the picture below to go to the Hummingbird Photo page. they all will load so just scroll down.

click on picture to go to the Hummer Photo page.

 

September 8, 2007

The Hummingbirds have indeed been plentiful this year and have provided many opportunities to study the behavior of these tiny marvels. We have had five feeders  in play for most of the summer and each one is  perpetually guarded by a Ruby Throated  member either Male or Female who seems to take ownership of that feeder. For the most part it is rare to have more than one on a  feeder at the same time as the principle endeavor of the aforementioned caretaker is to drive off any other hummer who wants a piece of the feeder.  This goes on from  dawns early light until darkness. In  all of my observations, however, I have never seen any actual contact. It is almost like it is a joyous game rather than bird violence. In early September the numbers remain high and will probably do so until mid October when they will all head South and many will cross the Gulf of Mexico non stop to get to their winter homes. This page will contain both photos and videos of this activity .

click on picture to go to the Autumn Hummer Photo and Video page.

 

 

September 10, 2007

The sugar water in the Hummingbird feeders has been disappearing at an unusually high rate, sometimes even completely over night. Of course it is not the vast numbers of Hummers at work. Rather it is something far more disturbing and potentially damaging to the area around the feeders. For two nights I set an X10 remote camera and recorded all night and saw nothing of the intruder. The next night I did not record and that night they were again empty. I removed two of the feeders in a close proximity to the gutter downspout and a fence but left three up close to the house, but with not easy access from the patio floor for what ever varmints were at work. I had not suspected that these would be hit, but per chance two night ago I awoke and went down stairs an heard a very loud scratching noise coming from the windows over looking the patio. I opened the blinds and there right on the other side of the window and scratching its  way up a sheer vertical trim molding with those paws reaching for the now swinging hummer feeder was a raccoon. In fact there were four of them and when I tapped on the window glass one of them just put his nose right up to where I was tapping and stared at me. . Guess I created enough of a disturbance that they finally got the message and slowly exited the area. The molding had just been freshly painted and I was afraid that it would be scratched and damaged . Next mornings inspection revealed to my pleasant surprise no damage. The new routine however is to bring the feeders in at dark each evening and return them in the morning. . This morning after hanging them again, I took a few pictures and the x10 video remote recorded the session. Click on the picture below for the video.

 

 

 

September 30, 2007

At last it appears this long hot, dry summer is finally over. Summer ended quietly on my 71st birthday, but the heat and extreme drought conditions continued for a few more days. As October arrives, the numbers of Hummers have waned, and the nut gatherers have entered their season. The Squirrels and Chipmunks are busy trying to harvest the miraculously  abundant hickory and acorn crop that somehow survived the drought of 2007.

Click on the Chipmunk picture for a short video

 

12/29/2007

 

Well it turned out that this year was the best for Hummingbird Visitors. Click on the picture below for the Hummingbird Video.

 

Links to other HowPeg pages

 

FLYING SQUIRREL PAGE A Robin's Diary Critter Cam Wildlife Video Clips
       
Robin's Nest Blog 2005 HowpPeg Nature Page 2004 Robin's Nest Backyard Wildlife  Directory
       
 Flying Squirrel Broad Band Nature  Streaming Videos NATURE - Mini  MOVIES More Streaming Videos
       
Howpeg Hummingbird page 2006 Wildlife Diary Robin's Nest Blog 2006 Song Sparrow Nest Blog 2006
 

 

2007 Wildlife Journal    

 

Wildlife visiting our Louisville Kentucky Backyard

scroll and click for each bird or animal video, sound and or picture