Rain has fallen in patches around mine but it seems there is a large and invisible umbrella over my land. On the up side, I have not had to mow my lawn for ages and for once, garden weeds have the disadvantage!
I've been preoccupied with concern for my cute little single mom neighbour. If you know me at all, you're likely thinking, "The neighbour is a bird, isn't she!?" You'd be right!
Towards the end of June or the first of July, something had taken the eggs from a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. Instead of fleeing the area, the couple decided to re-nest in a box that stands only a few yards from the failed one. Within a week, the female built a nest and laid another clutch of eggs. But I didn't see the male come to deliver food items to her as she brooded. Then it twigged -- He is gone!
Was he hit by a car? Taken by a hawk? Killed while defending the nest? Or did he just go out to buy a pack of cigarettes and kept on going? I'll never know.
Still, the female bluebird sticks with her plan and carries on. Her nearby thrush cousins, the robins, help drive off nest raiding red squirrels and sound the alarm for other approaching dangers. So she does have a bit of security from them. I happened to look out the window one day to see a curious Downy Woodpecker peer into her nest box. She had to fly out and shew it away herself. That and delivering food to her while she incubated would have been the male's job.
In the first week of his disappearance, it was sad to see her fly up to a hydro wire and scan in all directions looking for him. Gradually, she quit looking and just got on with her job. She brooded her clutch until they hatched and now (if she's lucky) will spend more than two weeks bringing her nestlings food. The task would have been halved had her helpmate not disappeared.
I'm not going to sneak a peak into the box just to admire and count her babies. With all of her concerns, she certainly does not need to worry about a nosy human. I can only wish her the best and cheer her on from my kitchen window.
|This female Eastern Bluebird is attempting to raise a family on her own.|
|Before leaving the box, she checks to make sure the coast is clear.|
|Her very busy parenting duties have loosened a tail feather.|
|Removing a fecal sack tells me that her eggs have hatched.|
|These bunnies have nipped every bud from my cornflower plants. (sigh)|
|Nothing cheers up a kitchen table like a freshly cut bouquet.|