Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Be Eaten by Hawks?

By the morning quiet, it appears my fledgling housewrens are gone. Where did they go so soon? To be eaten by hawks? To begin new nests in other parts of the woods? With more questions than answers, I wonder if the male who now sings by the empty house is one of the new fledglings, or is it Papa Small, hoping to get lucky again? But wait---upon closer attention, several wrens are playing near the ground in the vicinity of the house. Fledglings not gone after all. They hop under the ferns, in and out of the abelia hedge, into the clematis arbor, chit chit chitting, practicing their new skills---only one bubbler at the house, if not Papa Small. They've all already achieved the size of their parents, which isn't much, I admit. I can no longer distinguish the young from the adults, unless by their song. Those on the ground only chit chit. The one by the house is shaking the bubbles out. Is he young or old?

It's clearly still nesting season in Decatur. A pair of cardinals flies in and out of the fallen confederate jasmine trellis near the ground, a robin totes huge clumps of dried grass and leaves to the top of the tallest dogwood in the back right corner of the yard---not the same dogwood of the housewrens. Brown thrashers hop in and out of the azalea thicket with pine needles in their beaks, and that singular housewren is perpetually bubbling outside the newly vacated rhombus house.

But where are the rufous sided towhees that had a nest in the top of the ivy arbor? By my count this is day # 42 for them. If tiny housewrens required 45 days from first day of nest building, I would have expected the robin-sized towhees to take longer. Did they come to some harm in my absence? Or did I miss their coming out? dkm

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