Sunday, July 27, 2008
Close Encounters of the Fowl Kind
There's been a lot of fowl play around my place this weekend. This bird house is on the side of the carport. There is another one hanging from a branch in the back yard. Both have been taken over by wrens. This is a vast improvement over their choice last year of raising a family in my hanging flower basket. Mama bird would fly out abruptly and scare the crap out of me every time I watered the plant (very carefully avoiding the nest), even though I was expecting it (except for the first time, when I wasn't).
I haven't seen the babies, but I'd say they're getting bigger and hungrier. They sure do make a ruckus when mama bird flies in with some vittles. And I'm not the only one who has noticed the cheeping of the chicks. Zima has taken to hanging out on top of PDM's truck, parked in the carport adjacent to the birdhouse. I give it about 50-50 odds that one day she takes a flying leap for it. The odds would be higher if she wasn't 14 years old. She'll probably just sleep on the truck cab and dream about catching the birdies. If we were letting Moxy outside, she would be all over it. Moxy used to climb the tree and literally go out on a limb to mess with the other bird house earlier in the spring.
The neighborhood hawk attempted to land on a tree branch across the street this morning, but he broke it. For some reason, this made me laugh. Maybe he needs some avian Slim Fast. He quickly flew over to the power lines in front of my house. I got one photo of him before he flew away, but it didn't have enough magnification to see much of anything. Darn it!
Our hummingbirds have grown fiesty. For a while, they would visit the feeders one at a time. Very calm, no fighting, no competition. Now there are at least two going at it. It is much more entertaining. Aerial acrobatics galore, and twice the sighting potential. Now that they have goaded each other into being all territorial, they've grown much bolder about the non-bird "challengers", such as humans and cats, and even yellow jackets. I cracked up yesterday when Moxy and one of the hummers were having a "face off" through the kitchen window. Moxy was chittering and pawing the window and that little bird was holding his ground and getting all up in Moxy's face. Today the bird did the same thing to PDM through the window, mirroring his every move. I hope he doesn't get attacked by the killer hummingbird while he is outside grilling our steaks tonight.
And now the gang's all here! I just erased the bit I wrote about the barred owls being the only regulars who didn't show up for all the bird action this weekend. It is half an hour before sunset, and the owls just started calling to each other. I can't see them, but they sound like they're pretty close.
BAT UPDATE: PDM called around, and it turns out that bats are protected here until August 15, in order to let them complete their nesting season unmolested. So we can't do anything about them until then. We've decided to mount a bat box on the house close to the vents that they are currently using to get into the attic. That spot is ideal for bats, which is probably why we have them in the attic to begin with. They'll be able to continue ridding our yard of skeeters and we'll get our attic back.