It has been a slow week in experiment land. The temperatures have been more in tune with the season which means that the days have mostly been cold, rainy and windy and the nighttime temperatures have been hovering around freezing. Looks like someone realized that the beautiful weather we were having was a mistake so they recalled it and “fixed” it by sending us the krap we’re supposed to get at this time of the year :o( So there hasn’t been a whole lot of nesting going on this week because birds are smart enough not to nest when it's yucky out.
There is still a large population of birds that haven't started to nest yet. That’s because a lot of the birds around here nest in deciduous trees and most of the deciduous trees are still bare. A lot of varieties are starting to bud, but most of the trees in our woods are still just brown and grey with only the slightest bit of light green starting to show. Our willow tree is greening up nicely and that may be where this little goldfinch is building her nest. I caught her with a beak full of string just before she took off towards the willow. I wish I could have gotten a better shot of her, but it’s not like they stick around to get their picture taken – they grab their stuff and they’re gone!
Some of our feathered friends are already nesting because they prefer the protection of coniferous trees. A wonderful example is this robin. I’m so surprised that she has decided to use this poor old juniper to nest in. All of our junipers were attacked by some sort of problem 2 summers ago that made them loose pretty much all of their turquoise-greenery and darn-near killed them. Last summer my husband wanted to dig them out, but I begged him to leave them because they seemed to be trying to make a come back. They are still looking pretty thin and I worry that this robin really doesn’t have much cover, but she chose to nest here so I guess she feels comfortable. She has not laid her eggs yet, but her nest is all ready to go when the time comes. I’m so thrilled that we’re going to have baby robins again and right outside our dining room window (the pink hand in the picture is pointing to where the robin nest is).
The starlings are definitely nesting…but they are seriously driving me coo-coo! They never perch in the crabapple tree where the nest helpers are hung because they tend to hang out with the tough crowd – you know…with the grackles, cowbirds and blackbirds. They don’t use trees for protection – there’s strength in numbers and nobody dares mess with them! Anyways, it seems that every time I look out I see a starling hopping along in the grass with a beak full of nesting material, so I grab the camera and…damn – missed it! So I go about my business and later I glance out the window and there’s another one with a beak full of nesting material! So I grab the camera…and too late – it’s gone. This has been happening for 3 days now. I’m starting to wonder how wildlife photographers manage to keep their sanity.
Anyhoo, that my friends is pretty much all the news I’ve got for now. Stay tuned for more backyard bird nest experiment results in the upcoming weeks. Things are bound to get interesting real soon :o)
Keep on smiling!
Kathleen (aka TheNatureNut)
Kathleen (aka TheNatureNut)