by Donna Lewis (with additional photos by Sue Ann Kendall)
Anywhere I look I have baby birds right now, which is a wonderful thing for a naturalist. Who could be bored right now with so many little creatures to look at?
On our front porch we have a nest with five tiny Eastern Phoebes. They are fly-catchers and love things with wings.
This morning mama tried to force a giant beetle down her youngest daughter and I thought for awhile I might have to preform the Hine-lick procedure…
Then in my Blue-bird houses I have five babies in one house and six babies in another. Again, bugs are on the menu. This year the Blue-birds decided to run off the Purple Martins so they could use their perch to look for predators near their houses.
Over in our barn I have a nest of baby Carolina Wrens in a bucket that was hanging on the wall. If you have never seen a wren baby you would not believe how tiny they are. They are the cutest little things ever. There are only three babies.
Up in the oak trees about 18 feet high we have some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Now talk about a tiny house. You can barely see it. It is wrapped in moss and is very concealed.
There are ton’s of Cardinal nests everywhere. They eat bugs and from my feeders. I have them year round. They are regulars here.
Then at last my beautiful Purple Martins, who came very late this year, are starting to lay their eggs finally. That unfortunately will cause the babies to mature during the hottest time of the year.
I have seven nests with eggs and more that have not started yet. I have the fewest Martins than ever at this site. There are many potential reasons for this, and it’s hard to determine for sure.
But the ones I do have sing to me, and it’s all worth the trouble.
Nature is everywhere you are. All you have to do is look.
Disclosure: Dorothy didn’t really write this, so blame any inaccuracies on Sue Ann.
I found some older baby Carolina wrens at my house a few days ago, with no parents in sight. They were hungry! I waited to see if parents would arrive, but didn’t see them. I’d seen them earlier, but they seem to have disappeared.
So, like a good Master Naturalist, I looked up what to do with them and called and talked to a lady at a rescue organization. I got some of the meal worms that you feed to chickens, and the babies loved them.
I brought them to our Chapter Meeting, so I could feed them whenever they got to peeping. The good thing is they slept pretty often. Everyone seemed to enjoy seeing them and the chirping just added sound effects to Donna Lewis’s presentation on purple martins, anyway.
The next day I took them to a rescue organization. They told me the babies probably were not abandoned, and they’d do better back at home, so I dutifully took them back. I didn’t believe she was right, but did as told and put them back in the nest.
I actually finally saw a bird that looked like it was coming to check on them and did a quick u-turn upon seeing me.
The reason I felt so strongly they’d been abandoned is because I started watching so closely at only seven days old. It turns out the parents check on and feed the chicks less and less to encourage them to fledge. I suppose that process begins way earlier than I’d have thought. So, I learned something, and they survived me, I suppose.
I do wish the rescue lady would have told me to return them to the nest via one of my initial phone calls. But, at least I now know where the place is and can share that information with others, when needed.