First of all, thanks for hanging out with me as I spent the last few months publishing old posts (and especially for bearing through the last few weeks of fall/holiday content… I really tried to force-fit those projects into a shorter timeframe so that no one was overly inundated with Halloween and Christmas projects for weeks and weeks, but I realize that getting 5-10 posts a day was probably overwhelming… and it made me eyeroll at myself.)
Anyways… I’m back!
And what have I been doing? Lots of stuff, but let’s start with the broad topic of nature. I’ve been watching a family of robins build a nest in the Rhododendron located just 2 feet outside our living room window. In terms of showcasing their natural instincts, these birdies actually picked a pretty solid spot. It’s dry (beneath the eave), well-camo’ed from predators, and in a location that other forms of wildlife don’t often approach (not even Cody would get to the babies if they fell from the nest). Oh, except for the fact that they’re just realizing that HUMAN BEINGS are going to be a CONSTANT DISRUPTION to their routine. Mama Robin doesn’t seem to like us yet. And for that… sorry Charlie, hope you guys adapt to having setting up camp so close to curious eyes.
On Thursday we noticed the birds assessing the area, and by Friday morning there were a few branches in position so I set up the camera all weekend and snapped photos periodically to document its growth. Just yesterday morning I caught them in the nest and not too terrified by my presence – it looks like they’re getting the place move-in ready, and we’re probably not too far from being able to drag a chair up to the window and peek inside at the eggs.
We had robins living in a nest in our pergola at the old house and learned a lot watching them care for the babies, so I hope this is a fun opportunity to be eye-witnesses to their habits and growth.
In other wildlife news, we’re also hosting a nest of vulture eggs in the barn (effing vultures!), which really puts our tiny Robin’s nest in perspective. Our barn, which is built on the side of a steep embankment has gone through its share of maintenance and repairs in the last few years, in part to shoo a family of vultures who considered the space home via access through a hole in its roof. The barn’s a two-story structure; the “upper” level is what we access most often, while the “lower” level sits partially underground, with windows and doors that overlook the woodsy embankment. The lower level of the barn is a space we still haven’t spent a lot of time or money, it’s still structured as stables from when the previous owners raised horses on the property.
As we periodically do, Pete was looking around in the lower level of the barn over the weekend, scoping out who or what may have taken refuge there over the winter, when he realized that one of the windows was broken and GIANT ANGRY BIRD, GET OUT NOW, FAST.
Pete thought that the bird was trapped in there during the winter and needed help getting out, so it wasn’t until he returned armed with an evacuation strategy that included a broom and a garbage can lid shield (painting a good picture?) that he saw the nest and two giant eggs nestled inside. Well, crap. Vultures have good instincts too, because even though this nest was very much accessible at ground level (not in a high peak like a church steeple, or on a cliffside), with the doors to the barn shut and locked, not even a squirrel could have easily gained access through the only opening, the broken window.
Assuming you’re not familiar with the breeding tendencies of these giant birds, we’re counting on these eggs and the resulting offspring to be holding up our ability to access the lower level barn for the next 2-3 months (maybe more, maybe less depending on when the eggs actually came to be). The conservationist with whom we spoke suggested we just leave them be since Turkey Vultures are really only looking for carnage (not apt to snatch our toddler from the ground or bother us in any way). And technically, the DEC says it’s illegal to move the nest or eggs, so even if we can get near the eggs again without getting pooped on, there’s not really anything we can do. We’ll do our thing and let them do theirs and live harmoniously so no one is too pissed off. Those birds have a wingspan as wide as I am tall, you know? Not about to mess with them.
The good news? We’re about to be hosts to some of the most ugly-cute little birds you’ll ever see. I hope I can sneak a picture as good as this. (Photo courtesy of Roberta Dell’Anno)
While we’re talking about nesting, I might as well put this right here:
A totally different kind of nesting to be done inside and out over the course of the next 2 months!