June 24, 2012

Flew the coop

Our time as observers in the bird life cycle, like the school year, is drawing to a close. The kids have given the 3 chicks the unlikely names of Beezy, Brainy and Beatrice. (Editor's note: We assigned genders by the names that we picked and not based on any specific bird identification information,  plumage or otherwise. Knowing us the only one that is a male will be Beatrice. Whatever.)

Beezy was the strongest of the bunch and  I think he hopped away into one of the neighbouring yards a few days ago. Our fence is really only meant to contain flightless creatures or at least ones that are too short to be able to open the gate latch on their own. I think Beezy figured out that he has wings way before his siblings.

Yesterday morning there were only two little ones hopping around the yard.  This is what they looked like;  that is Brainy on the left and Beatrice on the right.

We started to put up the pool yesterday and were very careful to not have any baby bird sized lumps UNDER the pool.  The birds were mainly staying in the neighbourhood of the play structure so they were well out of the way. (So nice of us to build that giant play structure for birds, eh?)

This was taken this morning. George looked out the window and saw that one of the chicks was on the tire swing but I couldn't get my camera out in time. So I got this instead.

There really are 2 birds in this picture. Honest.
Brainy is taking the high view. And getting ready to fly away.
Beatrice still walking about.
She can fly too, I think, but not quite as well.
Shortly after these pictures were taken I saw Brainy fly away, sort of, into the neighbours yard.  He flew from the play structure to the fence (1 ft), hopped onto their shed (1 ft), slid down the incline to the ledge, jumped off the ledge and tried to fly to their deck (10 ft) missing the railing and plummeting to the ground. He's working on it. Let the bird learn.

It won't be long until Beatrice does the same. It has been interesting to watch the chicks grow so fast. Nature makes that necessary. My last thought on the birds was that I was glad that there were no cats in the yard because it seriously would have been like an all-you-can-eat buffet. And then I would have had to get all Cuckoo Momma Bird on that cat's ass.

And speaking of growing so fast... here is a picture of our crazy children in the pool this morning as the water is filling.  Note the pool is being filled with the hose from the outside of the house  I would estimate the water at about 10C, 15C tops. I do NOT foresee myself swimming today. Call me a princess, if you wish, but I do not think that I will be brave enough to get in until the heater can add at least 10C!

It is supposed to be +38C tomorrow, with the humidex. That will help.  Sure as hell can't hurt!

June 22, 2012

Gone to the birds...

The drama continues under the deck and in the backyard.

The nest had been moved (fallen?) off the beam and now is in the grass under the deck. So now there are baby robins wandering about in the grass like stealthy little ninja assassins.* We found two of them fairly easily as they were still near the nest. We couldn't find #3.

But the grass is pretty tall so it was tricky to find the little birds. Birds blend, yo. Can you see the bird in this picture below?**
These are Finn's legs.
As you can see Scott has been fertilizing.
And it has been raining a lot!
 We scoured the yard and finally found him hiding near the sandbox. (Aside: we also found a hammer***, 3 skipping ropes, many pieces of disintegrating sidewalk chalk, 5 soccer balls in various stages of inflation and about 15 of Finn's socks- all balled up and soaking wet. Not a pair in the bunch!)
This guy was speedy.
Scott was trying to mow the lawn and had the other 4 of us moving the birds out of harms way with shovels from the sandbox.  Very careful not to touch them.  Birds harbour disease, pestilence and possibly the plague. Don't laugh at me. I'm serious.  People still die of the Black Plague each year,  see here. Admittedly not a lot of people... but it could still totally happen. And I am pretty sure they can link it directly back to touching rodents- flying or otherwise.

Baby Bird Emergency Retrieval Team
Scott had Olivia walking in front of the mower just in case. The last thing we needed was a sickening crunch and a puff of feathers coming out of the side of the mower.
I liked this little guy best. He had good hair.
These guys are pretty mobile now and we expect Cuckoo Momma Bird to start moving them around a little more. They likely won't stay in the yard for much longer. This will likely be a lot less stressful for her and for the cats who have been watching from the back windows. Howard, very thoughtfully, offered to take care of a few of the babies while we scouted for the last one. We said thank you but no.

Cuckoo Momma Bird and another one (Daddy Bird?) are still giving us the stink-eye when we are near and screaming at us from the fence. At least we know that we were trying to keep them safe too.

Don't worry Momma Bird, we don't want your babies
 or your plague.

That is, when we weren't trying to mow them.

*If ninja assassins eat worms. You don't know. They might.
**Um, so yeah... there is no bird in that picture. It was a trick question. Gotta stay on your toes if you are going to read this blog. But now imagine that picture times a thousand and there you have our yard and the difficulty of the bird search. Now it's a lesson to you all.
*** Okay, we didn't really find a hammer either. The bird search just reminded me of Finn's boom-a-rang hammer because we were near the play structure.

June 19, 2012

Cuckoo Momma Bird

A small robin is holding our back deck hostage. 

It started with a very persistent robin hopping around in our backyard. We kept calling her "cuckoo bird."  As in, " that cuckoo robin was sitting on the fence giving me the stink-eye again." Or "that stupid cuckoo bird is hopping around the backyard screaming at the kids again."

Since we have no trees we started looking around the play structure and the deck for a nest.  Clearly this bird had to be trying to defend something other than a wide open yard.

Scott found the nest under the deck. We weren't dealing with just a cuckoo bird we had a momma cuckoo bird on our hands. Everyone know that nothing makes you crazier than being a mom.

It was tucked up in a safe spot between the beams and under the top boards that we walk on. And directly under our BBQ. There was also an abandoned nest, maybe from last year. Scott pulled up a board so that we could all get a quick peek. Momma bird was shrieking at us from the fence.

We waited for a couple of weeks and noticed that cuckoo momma bird started getting a lot more aggressive each time we tried to cook anything on the BBQ or walk around the yard. Now she was dive bombing us and positively screaming at us each time we came onto the back deck.

I put my ear to the deck but could hear no little chirps. Scott pulled up the board again and look what we found.

We're not sure if there is a fourth chick buried underneath but my guess is that there will only be 3 to watch.

In the mean time... steer clear of of our deck unless you are wearing a hard hat. And  safety glasses might be a wise choice too.

To be continued...