I was delighted to look underneath the cardboard pieces in the stacked toybox planters and see two little eggs sitting in the nest. The birds make such frequent use of this excellently concealed and protected nesting spot that i get the nature channel all spring even though i have no tv service.
She laid an additional egg every so often until there were 6 sitting in the nest. Some birds sit on unfertilized eggs until it becomes apparent that they will not hatch. Then they break the eggs or roll them from the nest and vacate. So the question is, “Are these eggs fertilized?” One can hope. 🙂
Update: The eggs have begun hatching!
Update: When all the hatching was said and done there were four baby birds. One of the eggs didn’t hatch. I would later open it and find it was never fertilized.
I asked my friend Ren to name them. She settled on Guido, Giovanni, Rex, and Regina.
They were so tiny and pink. Each had a mohawk of black fuzz atop its head. Their eyes were not developed yet and so they lay blind and helpless in the nest and whenever they heard my voice or the mother’s tweet they would thrust their little yellow beaks open and prepare to receive falling food. some days i did not check on them so they would not become used to my presence. I didn’t want to interfere too much with the mother’s job of feeding and raising them. I did not want them to hear my voice, not get fed, and decide that noise did not mean “open” anymore. I tried to let them alone and check in on them for less than a minute every few days. When the mom did catch me peeking at her babies i tried to disappear quickly in the hopes that she wouldn’t be deterred from caring for them. She would enter the nest with the worm as planned 95 percent of the time.
Here you can see the prerequisite of feathers developing.
One day i looked in on the nest and they weren’t pink squirming gumbies anymore. They were real birds with feathers and eyes.
At knew at this point that it would not be long before they were leaving the nest. They only had a little bit of growing up left to do.
It had been extra difficult for the mother to keep this batch alive as it was a very dry year and temperatures had already climbed to soaring heights in late april and early may. During the day the baby birds were alarmingly still as they lay in the nest and panted. They looked exhausted and sticky. I was grateful that the cardboard blocked out the sun but it wasnt enough. The birds looked miserable. I understood that there probably wouldn’t be a third brood of babies in the nest this year.
This was when they began venturing away from the nest to explore the toybox the nest was in. Flight was not far off.
This was the last time i saw the birds. I heard the mama bird tweeting to them all day for two days and i knew she was coaxing them out of the nest. She had likely stopped feeding them and was now calling them to get up and learn to fly. If they wanted more grub they would get up and take the leap. I purposely didnt check the nest when all this racket was going on because i didnt want to interrupt this process and right of passage. When the noise had ceased i lifted the cardboard to find only 2 birds in the nest. The next time i lifted the cardboard the nest was empty.