Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From this window - 6/26/12...

The garden changes so much from day to day, there is always something to talk about.  The bluebirds have egg 1 in the nest box.  A brown-headed cowbird spent a lot of time yesterday at the box.  She's checking for the first egg so she can lay one in the bluebird box and have the bluebirds raise it as their own.  But, she didn't count on bluebird dad and, of course, me.  Since the egg was laid early this morning, he's been close to the box.  When the house sparrows landed on the box, he landed on them.  He's very aggressive, unlike some male bluebirds who aren't aggressive at all.  The less aggressive bluebirds usually are not very successful in their nestings.  There are so many predators out to destroy the nests and nestlings.  The brown-headed cowbird is just one.  Starlings will build a nest over bluebird eggs; the wrens will break the eggs and pull the nest material out so they can build in the box (sometimes the wren already has eggs somewhere else but that won't matter); the house sparrows will also break the eggs and kill the nestlings, often even kill the female; if squirrels can get to the box, they will eat the babies and the eggs; snakes also love eggs and nestlings.  So, we have a predator guard on the pole and I am religious in checking the box, sometimes twice a day.

The wrens in the deck box are a blessing.  Both keep on the lookout for spider webs using them in their nest.  And the spiders and bugs don't stand a chance.  The male is all over the flower boxes on the deck and in between the spindles.  No longer do we walk out on the deck and run into a big spider web that wasn't there the evening before - Go Wrens!

The raccoons finally broke my favorite feeder.  We took the chance of hanging it from a tree branch on a huge hook.  The filled feeder with the squirrel guard must weigh fifteen pounds.  They managed to pull the feeder off the hook and drop it to the ground.  After the top shattered all the black oil sunflower seed spilled out and it must have been feast time.  They couldn't even eat all the seed so the squirrels and birds feasted the next day.  I've ordered a hopper feeder made from recycled plastic to add to our squirrel/raccoon proof feeder system.  It looks like it holds a good amount of seed and will replace the small hanging platform feeder we have now.

Hubs was on his way to the way-back bed to pull weeds (temps were in the low 60s this morning), and stepped into a small hole which turned out to be full of baby rabbits.  It was right out in the open in the middle of our backyard.  It's our second rabbit nest this year.  We had to fill the first one to keep from breaking our ankles (after the babies were gone, of course).  He put a plastic chair over the nest to remind him that it was there so he didn't step on it again.  We have an over abundance of loose cats in our neighborhood; we've seen at least six different ones.  One day last week a small black one was running down the street carrying an animal in its mouth; something that almost drug the ground.  We weren't fast enough to see what it was but it had legs and was much too big to be a chipmunk.  It could have been a kitten or a rabbit.  Small mammals don't stand much change of growing up around here.  On our way into the city yesterday to take the cat to the vet we saw the most glorious coyote.  He was standing by the side of the highway and looked to be in great shape.

On a sad note: our cat was diagnosed with hyper thyroid disease.  She's been losing weight while eating like crazy and it worried us.  She will have to take medicine for the rest of her life and if you've never wrestled an octopus with claws, you don't know what fun is.  So, we smashed her morning pill and mixed it with half a teaspoon of her favorite food and after she ate that, we fed her a normal breakfast.  When we travel, someone else will have to give her medication and we need to make it easier than the first pill which left us both exhausted, the cat seriously angry, and cat fur all over the kitchen.  The good news is she should start gaining weight and being more pleasant when the meds are adjusted and her thyroid is back in balance.

1 comment:

  1. I so enjoy your nature news, Cindy. I particularly enjoy hearing about the bluebirds as we don't have them here. I hope kitty feels better soon.