Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And speaking of flying . . .

. . . part 2:

One day recently as I passed by the bedroom door I heard an unusual noise. What, another frog in the house? I tracked the chirp through the bedroom, into the master bath and to the window, where I had to climb into the bath tub to identify the mystery caller. We have a large bouganvillea plant/shrub/tree on a trellis outside the master bath window. Looking for the source of the wildlife chatter I immediately saw a grey squirrel looking back at me. It's hard to say who was more startled; he took off up the trellis and onto the roof where I heard him scamper away. Then I saw it -- he had been about to trespass on a bird's nest. Getting my footing on the back of the tub, no easy task for my balance-challenged self, I was able to jam my head up under the blinds far enough to see eggs in the nest. I couldn't see far enough into the nest to count them but knew there were at least two.

Putting two and two together, I came up with four. No, not really. I recalled that we had recently welcomed a new cardinal couple to our feeder and quickly deduced that this would be their nest. Not that I recognized the eggs without looking them up on the web, but since the only birds we've had around here in the over four years we've lived in Florida are NEVER smaller than a terradactyl, I didn't have to use my rocket-scientist side of the brain.

So excited I was/am by having what I consider a "regular midwestern bird" visiting that I immediately adopted the nest as my project. Finally finding a use for that roll of quarter inch hardware cloth I'd been hoarding, I located my tool-wielding spouse and directed his installation of various squirrel obstacles. Next began the daily observations.

Mind you, observing Momma on the nest was no easy task since she was hypervigilant and would take off at the slightest provocation. Photographing her was even more difficult so I'm really happy to have gotten that photo. It made me wonder about the egg-laying process itself: is it like human labor? Eeesh! I don't want to think about it.

After several days I was overjoyed to find the eggs had been replaced by tiny creatures from outer space:

I know the photos could be better, but what can one expect from a small digital camera? In the past couple of days we've also seen Dad visiting the little ones but haven't been able to catch him in a photo.


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