Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fecal Sacs!

I've learned to expect the unexpected within my hour of observation, yet am always surprised by it. Today's mystery was to notice that after every few deliveries to open-mouthed babes at doorway, one of the housewren adults ducks its head inside the house and flies away with something white in its beak---about the size and shape of a large vitamin capsule, and bright white in the sun. Backyard Birdlover's Guide answers the question: "Both parents feed the young after the female stops brooding them, and both carry off fecal sacs."

By 7:30 a.m. I was on the swing with my breakfast and a day's worth of writing supplies, hoping to witness the moment of new freedom for the nestling housewrens. When this watch began 42 days ago I stood for long periods with camera poised, attempting to capture a photo of Mama or Papa Small entering or leaving the house. It required patience and resulted in weary arm muscles, not to mention many photos short of mark. Could never get camera still, shutter open, and bird in doorway simultaneously. When at last I captured a blurry shot I considered it a prize. Now, so often do they come to the door with special deliveries, I can get clear shots almost at will. Next prize will be the fledglings pushing off, if I'm lucky enough to be here at the moment. dkm

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