Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kerfuffle in Bird World

Yowza! It's mating/nesting season in bird world. What a noisy lot of activity in the backyard on this seventy-five degree February day in Georgia.  Chase games, male bravado, territory claims, and mating connections. One could almost spin around blindfolded and point, to choose what to write about.

Today I choose a sudden loud persistent eruption coming from a big sloppy nest in the high crook of a tree branch in the way-back part of the yard. From a distance, I could see and hear many small birds flying around the nest in a fury of righteous indignation and effusive scolding.  I approached slowly to see what I could see. There were at least a dozen birds and three species circling the nest and flitting in and out of the surrounding bare branches (still too early for leaves). Tufted titmice, white-breasted nuthatches, and chickadees, the highest percentage of these being titmice. Eventually, they quieted and flew away, leaving me wondering what happened. I went back later with a camera for a shot of the nest.

Not sure, but looks like a squirrel's nest to me. Why the attention from so many small birds?
I will never know the reason for the kerfuffle in a nest way too big for any of those tiny species, but one thing I have learned from previous observations. Whenever such outrageous scolding erupts in bird world, it is not without cause. Somebody had invaded somebody else's rights, and the victim had called for help. In the society of the backyard, it appeared to be the equivalent of a military response to a great social injustice, minus a newspaper account to inform us of the details. In the silent and mysterious aftermath I can only hope the little guys won. dkm

13 comments:

bibi said...

Here's to the titmice and chickadees!

Jane Robertson said...

I just googled 'tufted titmouse'. What a cutie!
Love the clear blue sky and bare branches.

Ellen said...

Bare trees are so beneficial for seeing this
kind of action! I (sort of stupidly, as I later reflected) was stunned this fall after the leaves fell. You could see the birds actually conducting their business.

Lovely.

dkm said...

Agreed, Ellen! And not stupid. It IS stunning to notice in a new way something you already sort of knew. It's the reward for the simple act of focused attention--- precisely the reason I started and now keep up this blog :-). I thought I might tire of it after awhile. But the longer I keep at it, the better I like the simplest "noticings."

And bibi and Jane, I think the tufted titmouse is the species most responsible for my love of backyard birds. They are so darned adorable!

Pukeko G said...

Ahh .. routing for the underdog ! Must be a world wide practice ?

dkm said...

Hope so :-) Wish it were true among governments!

Pukeko G said...

Well NZ and USA govts are trying to get the rest of the world to agree on a HUGE sanctuary in Antartica so that is a good start :)

dkm said...

Had to google to read more---having recently seen scary environmental reports on Antarctica---habitat destruction, melting, etc. Glad to know of treaty to keep it military free---scientific research only. Here's hoping the sanctuary remains.

Crosby Kenyon said...

Nice analogy. It will be interesting to know how it plays out for the current season.

Niki said...

awww I googled all three. They're so cute.

In the early evening here, we have a huge flock of I don't know if they're blackbirds or starlings or even sparrows, but the noise is incredible. As soon as I go out they take flight, do the circuit then land back on the trees again. Such a neat sight.

dkm said...

That's exactly what our mixed flocks of blackbird-like birds do. Is it a seasonal thing there, or year round? Wondering if it's a migrating flock, and if so, how far north they go--bc you're heading into winter, right? Are they confined to NZ and Australia?

You don't have to answer these. I'm just thinking on keyboard here. My NZ blogging friends are introducing so many new things to wonder about the opposite corner of the globe. So many questions to add to my life-list. (list of questions I've asked, not birds I've seen :-)

dkm said...

Nice to hear from you again, Crosby. I'll let you know if I see any more activity at the mystery nest.

Niki said...

It must be blackbirds and it must be seasonal cos it's only been happening for a few weeks. We're in autumn now (yay). Goodness knows where they're going. I know they don't like the herons. Which reminds me, I haven't seen the herons or the owls for a while now. The last time I saw Morris Owl, he was staring at me and bobbing up and down high up on a branch. I bet if he could, he would have poked his tongue out at me, too. I had the feeling he was being a smart-bottom!