Friday, July 06, 2007
The Birds of Summer
I’ve mentioned our back yard bird sanctuary a few times here. Now it’s become a multigenerational gathering spot. At least three pairs of Cardinals raised their broods nearby and they’re bringing their young ones to eat at our stump buffet. You can tell the young from their lack of red feathers and their behavior. They flutter their wings and give a little plaintive cry until one of the parents stuffs a seed in their mouths.
We also have baby Blue Jays, and cutest of all, baby woodpeckers. A pair of Red-bellied woodpeckers have been frequent visitors over the past several months. I think they should be called “blushed bellies” myself because the red on their stomachs is not prominent at all. They also have red or rosy-feathered heads. The male has red all the way over the head to the beak while the female just has red about halfway across her head. The young ones have no red yet but will cling to the side of a tree or a stump while the mom or dad lands above them, gets a seed, then turns around and puts it into their offspring’s mouth.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the “babies” certainly aren’t little anymore. They’re all flying, of course, but most are as physically big or bigger than their parents. I guess this is a combination of being fed with little effort on their part, and of their parents losing weight from the hard labor of raising their families.
Oh, and this morning for the first time I saw a Box Turtle crossing our yard. You’re probably saying, “be still my heart,” or “how did you stand the excitement?” but I thought it was pretty cool. I used to love what we called “terrapins” as a kid but you don’t see them too often anymore. From reading about the Gulf Coast Box Turtle's habits I probably wouldn't have seen it if our back yard had not been flooded. It apparently loves to wade through shallow pools of water in search of insect larva. I hope it eats some of our mosquitoes.